Simon Watson | Senior Software Developer

This person is a member of Sanger Institute Alumni.

Watson, Simon

I am in charge of the group's influenza research: investigating the diversity, ecology, and molecular evolution of different subtypes of influenzavirus in human, swine and avian hosts. I also provide informatics assistance to the molecular biologists in the Virus Genomics group, helping to assemble and analyse NGS whole-genome sequence data for a range of viruses. More recently, I was involved in the MERS coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East, using deep-sequencing technologies to reconstruct MERS-CoV genomes from clinical patients, and characterise the molecular epidemiology of the emerging outbreak in real-time.


  • Molecular Epidemiology and Evolution of Influenza Viruses Circulating within European Swine between 2009 and 2013.

    Watson SJ, Langat P, Reid SM, Lam TT, Cotten M et al.

    Journal of virology 2015;89;19;9920-31

  • Community case clusters of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in Hafr Al-Batin, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: a descriptive genomic study.

    Memish ZA, Cotten M, Watson SJ, Kellam P, Zumla A et al.

    International journal of infectious diseases : IJID : official publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases 2014;23;63-8

  • Spread, circulation, and evolution of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus.

    Cotten M, Watson SJ, Zumla AI, Makhdoom HQ, Palser AL et al.

    mBio 2014;5;1

  • Transmission and evolution of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in Saudi Arabia: a descriptive genomic study.

    Cotten M, Watson SJ, Kellam P, Al-Rabeeah AA, Makhdoom HQ et al.

    Lancet (London, England) 2013;382;9909;1993-2002

  • Hospital outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus.

    Assiri A, McGeer A, Perl TM, Price CS, Al Rabeeah AA et al.

    The New England journal of medicine 2013;369;5;407-16

  • Full-genome deep sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of novel human betacoronavirus.

    Cotten M, Lam TT, Watson SJ, Palser AL, Petrova V et al.

    Emerging infectious diseases 2013;19;5;736-42B

  • Viral population analysis and minority-variant detection using short read next-generation sequencing.

    Watson SJ, Welkers MR, Depledge DP, Coulter E, Breuer JM et al.

    Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences 2013;368;1614;20120205

Watson, Simon
Simon's Timeline

Postdoctoral researcher, Sanger Institute

PhD, University College London


MRes Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, University of Leeds


BSc (Hons) Human Genetics, University of Leeds