2nd Platelet Society Meeting
No one expects a global pandemic. Despite our best laid plans to bring everyone to Keele University, the 2nd annual meeting of the Platelet Society was held virtually on the 29th-31st March. Whilst we could not be together in person, the online format allowed us to come together with old and new from all around the world. We were excited to welcome 170 participants joining us for three days of fantastic science and networking opportunities.
The first day saw the early career researcher meeting hosted by Kirk Taylor, Paul Armstrong and Carly Kempster. After a welcome from Jon Gibbins, participants were treated to a diverse array of oral presentations including discussion of 3Rs initiatives in platelet research, the role of GPIb in health and disease, as well as the roles of platelets in sepsis and myeloproliferative neoplasms. These were accompanied by a CV masterclass and an interactive careers panel for both academic and industrial jobs. The day finished with an online social event hosted by Gather Town to allow our early career researchers to network with one another.
The opening of the main meeting saw our inaugural Public lecture given by Nicola Mutch on the topic of clotting complexities of COVID-19. Nicola expertly communicated the rapidly-evolving landscape on how COVID-19 triggers blood clots, and how we might be able to treat these. This lecture was livestreamed to YouTube (https://youtu.be/UiixGDhVKnI), to help in our aim to educate the public on platelet-related disorders. This was accompanied by a range of fantastic oral presentations, an interactive networking session, as well as a brilliant plenary lecture by Kellie Machlus discussing how platelet-derived extracellular vesicles play a role in linking inflammation to megakaryopoiesis. The day ended with an online poster session on Gather Town. Followed by a team quiz hosted by Paul Armstrong. The quiz featured an eclectic mix of questions on Eurovision, punctuation names, and the legalities of what you can do you with your neighbours’ cows. Sadly there was no disco to attend this time round, but everyone could still retreat to the virtual bar to talk away the remainder of the evening.
The final day started with an interactive equity, diversity and inclusion spotlight session on Mentorship. This session allowed members to discuss the early career researcher committee’s ideas for a new mentorship scheme within the Society. If you would like to be a Mentor (https://forms.gle/oHBtrzE1U5kacHTU7) or Mentee (https://forms.gle/fCF7ULtMR7ratFgP8) please complete the respective surveys. Following this an a session of oral presentations examined new horizons in platelet research. This was headlined by a plenary lecture by Anirban Sen Gupta who discussed his lab’s work developing platelet-inspired nanotechnologies. The meeting finished with the Gustav Born Lectures, which this year were given by 3 early career researchers who had received individual fellowships within the last year. Abdullah Khan, Harriet Allan and David Cabrera all gave fantastic talks to bring the talks to an end. Finally the prize giving saw Beth Webb (Leeds) and Jess Berry (Cambridge) awarded the best poster prizes. Jacob Ranjbar (Keele) won the Cairn Research prize for the best oral presentation at the Early Career Researcher Meeting, and Natalie Jooss won the Labmedics prize for the best oral presentation during the main meeting. Lastly, Attila Munkacsi (Bristol) won the NC3R Innovative approaches in platelet science.
Thank you all for making the event so successful, we look forward to welcoming you to Hull next year!
2nd ECR Meeting
Over a year ago Dr Paul Armstrong (Queen Mary University London) and myself (Dr Kirk Taylor; Imperial College London) sat down to plan the 2nd Early Career Researcher (ECR) meeting of The Platelet Society. We decided on a date in April 2020, secured a venue, sponsors and received exciting abstracts for the meeting. What we didn’t realise was that a global pandemic was lurking around the corner. One month before the meeting, it soon became apparent that with the UK on the brink of lockdown, we could not hold our meeting. Rather than simply cancel, we postponed to September in the hope that we could get together in person. We also expanded the organising team and Carly Kempster (University of Reading) joined to help plan and deliver the meeting. Unfortunately, as the worldwide lockdown progressed our hopes of an in-person meeting were dashed and we had to take things online.
From the submitted abstracts we selected 8 talks that we felt represented the breadth and depth of the Society. We incorporated both clinical and basic science, alongside methodological advances and translational studies. Programme.
The day itself went off without a hitch – Dr Steve Thomas (University of Birmingham) was our behind the scenes producer for the day, making sure everyone could get in and could be heard (you’re on mute!). We had over 120 registrations from the UK, Europe, South Africa, USA, Canada and Mexico! The talks were really engaging with lots of questions from our virtual audience.
Carly gave an update on the Platelet Society ECR survey, highlighting that members would like more from the society. Suggestions for this included mentoring, webinars, socials, improved communication and a skills repository. In response to this Carly and I are launching an ECR Working Group to develop the Society and introduce exciting new initiatives. All early career researchers/trainees are welcome to apply to join the working group (You don’t need to be a current member but if successful, we would ask you to join- only £20/year). Full details can be found here and applications are open until 30th September.
We hope that we will be able to get together in person in Keele next year (29th-31st March 2021). So, save the date and we’ll see you then!
1st Platelet Society Meeting
With the college motto translating as “May your journey be successful”, there was perhaps no more apt place to hold the first full meeting of The Platelet Society than Jesus College, University of Cambridge. Upon arrival at the venue success seemed assured, as the conference hall was already bustling with a sea of familiar, friendly faces, as well as a variety of new faces to get to know. After the welcome address by Matthew Harper in which we were educated of the many “traditions” of Jesus college, the first session on Platelet Formation and Function was kicked off by Alessandra Balduini. Alessandra showed us how the bone marrow extracellular matrix could influence megakaryocyte development.
The second Platelet Pharmacology session introduced a new partnership with The British Pharmacological Society, and was kicked off by Margaret Cunningham who delivered an engaging cautionary tale on how to interpret the anti-platelet actions of PAR-targeting pepducins. Another highlight from this session was Amanda Unsworth’s talk, who showed us why we should all be living the gourd life. The final session of the day examined new ways of working with platelets. This began with the Izon Science-sponsored talk delivered by Jonathon West in which he described the way microfluidics can be used to assess platelet function at the single cell level. Further talks demonstrated how a variety of new technologies are now being used to explore platelet function in novel ways.
The Platelet Society then held its first AGM, in which Khalid Naseem handed over to the incoming chair, Jon Gibbins. Jon thanked the interim chair for his vital contribution in steering the development of the fledgling society. After a lively and enjoyable poster session in which everyone got a chance to discuss a wide variety of excellent research, as well as network in the courtyard on a glorious September evening. Everyone was then treated to an excellent meal in Jesus College Hall, in which we were well looked after by the fabulous college staff. The merriment soon spilled over into the college bar. With the basement hosting a DJ and dancefloor, Nick Pugh and Kirk Taylor acted as revellers-in-chief to ensure that the dancefloor was busy until closing time.
At the start of Day 2, there was no obvious drop in enthusiasm from the audience due to any lingering ill effects of the previous night’s fun. The first session of the day examined interaction of platelets with a range of other cells including bacteria, fungi, cancer cells, macrophages and endothelium. The final session contained talks on how HSP47, GPVI and FcɣR can facilitate platelet interaction with the extracellular matrix.
The meeting was rounded off with the inaugural Gustav Born Memorial lecture given by Richard Farndale on the role of vessel wall collagen’s in thrombus formation. Richard is a worthy recipient of this prize lecture, as like Gustav, he has had a far-reaching impact in platelet research both in understanding how platelets trigger thrombus formation, as well as providing invaluable experimental tools that have been invaluable to other investigator’s research. We will all greatly miss Richard as he enjoys his retirement. Matthew and the rest of the local organising committee should be congratulated on organising such a fantastic meeting. If this meeting marks the beginning of our journey together as a society, it seems like we’ve set off with our best foot forward.
Dr Alan Harper
1st ECR meeting
This event brought together early career researchers working in platelet research from across the UK and Europe. The meeting began with opening remarks from Dr Sarah Jones & Prof Khalid Naseem as representatives of The Platelet Society, explaining why the society was established and the hopes for the future of platelet research, and continued with presentations, interactive panel discussions and a networking session over drinks and nibbles. More photos from the day can be found here.
Oral Communication Session A
The morning session was chaired by Dr Amanda Unsworth, University of Reading & Stuart Wallis, University of Bath. First up was Dr Amanda Dalby, University of Birmingham, who spoke to us about work recently accepted for publication in Blood, on the causative role of GNE mutations in thrombocytopenia. This was followed by Kirsty Lewis, University of Bristol who as part of her PhD is examining the effects of the COX-2 inhibitor Celecoxib on platelet function and Dr Maria Lopes Pires, Anglia Ruskin University who has been exploring the interplay between ROS, oxLDL and changes in intracellular zinc on platelet responses. The session ended with a talk from Dr Kirk Taylor, Imperial College London on the impact of HIV therapy on platelet activation, he also highlighted the age of the audience by screening a public information video that had originally aired before most of them had been born.
Lunchtime Career Breakout Session
The first highlight of our lunchtime careers session was the food supplied by the catering staff at Manchester Metropolitan University and the second was the excellent discussions that went on between the early career researchers and our invited career experts. The experts included a few familiar faces from the platelet-field past and present; Dr Sarah Jones a senior lecturer in the School of Healthcare at Manchester Metropolitan University, Dr Carmen Coxon who has recently left academia to join the government-funded organisation NIBSC and Dr Ben Atkinson from 3i, a company which designs and manufactures technologies for living cell, live cell, and intravital fluorescence microscopy. We were also joined by Dr Charlotte Murphy a research development manager at University of Exeter and Dr Gina Gamble an account manager from Nikon, who enthusiastically joined the career panel despite only being approached about it on the morning of the meeting.
Oral Communication Session B
The afternoon session was chaired by Dr Zaher Raslan, University of Leeds & Sophie Nock, University of Reading. Opening the afternoon session was first year PhD student Stuart Wallis, University of Bath who informed us of the exciting work he has undertaken in the first few months of his PhD designing a novel anti-inflammatory and vasculo-protective agent. Next up was Nina Wolska, Medical University of Lodz, who had travelled from Poland to share her thoughts on the use of wide-field and confocal microscopy for evaluating in vitro thrombus formation. This was followed by talks from Dr Alex Stainer, University of Reading encouraging us to consume more of the plant flavonoid quercetin and Chiara Pallini, University of Birmingham who showed us some interesting and pretty data on GPVI clustering.
Exploring Careers Panel Discussion
This was the second of our career sessions designed to help our early career researchers plan their futures. The session was chaired by Dr Daniel Moreno-Martinez and Sarah Daniels from the organising committee at MMU. For the afternoon session, Prof David Eisner joined our career experts. David is a BHF Professor of Cardiac Physiology at the University of Manchester and President of The Physiological Society he has had an extensive and successful research career and even has an entry on Wikipedia! The panel session allowed each of the experts to give a little bit of background information about their careers before being grilled by the audience.
Thank you from The Platelet Society
We would like to say a big thank you to our sponsors, the career experts and finally to the attendees without their participation and enthusiasm this meeting would not have been possible.
Feedback from the meeting
“…I really enjoyed the day, it was very well organised and had a lovely relaxed atmosphere. I particularly enjoyed the careers discussion, I thought you had a good range of people for it, compared to other careers events I’ve been to before and it was good to get to chat to these people over lunch too”
“…thank you for organising a successful and engaging early career researcher meeting. The quality of talks and posters was very high, including those from 1st year students!”
Winner: Dr Kirk Taylor, Imperial College London: Pharmacological Impact of HIV therapy on platelet activation (Some thoughts on the meeting from Kirk can be found here)
Runner Up: Nina Wolska, University of Lodz: Comparison of use of wide-field and confocal microscopy for the quantitative evaluation of in vitro thrombi formation under flow conditions
Winner: Madelene Lindkvist, Örebro University: Correlation between blood vessel functions and platelet responsiveness towards ADP, epinephrine, collagen and nitric oxide in healthy humans
Runner Up: Dr Zaher Raslan, University of Leeds: Critical role for ITAM dependent signalling in CD36-mediated platelet activation by oxidised low-density lipoproteins
The First Italian - UK Platelet Meeting
Participants include scientists from all over the UK, Europe and North America. This year, the meeting takes place at the University of Bath. A vibrant scientific program, exciting invited speakers, plenty of opportunities for networking and a rich social program will make this meeting memorable.
The organisers Dr Giordano Pula, Dr Ilaria Canobbio and Prof Mauro Torti look forward to welcoming you all in Bath on September 7th-8th 2017. The journal Platelets will publish the abstracts from the 1st Italian-UK Platelet Meeting