2020 has been quite a year, with many challenges on us at both a personal and professional level. However, there are glimmers of hope and the Platelet Society looks forward to 2021!
Our annual meeting, hosted by Keele, will be be on line in 2021, but the organisers, led by Alan Harper, are putting together a fantastic programme including international invited speakers, short talks, discussion sessions and an ECR focused day. Further information, including abstract submission details can be found here.
The early career researcher community within the Society continues to grow and become a central component of Society activities. This includes exciting developments such as the ECR working groups. Keep an eye open for more more information on these during 2021.
The Society also developed its equity, diversity and inclusion policy and started engaging with members to ensuring it represents everyone in our community. Further information on this and the EDI survey we are currently running can be found here.
An exciting development is our new feature ‘Clot Chat’. After a successful discussion focused on equity, diversity and inclusion – with a specific focus on science and the LGBTQ+ community, forthcoming videos will be a mix of short interviews and discussions on a range of topical subjects. Look out for new videos appearing in 2021.
On behalf of the Platelet Society we would like to wish you Season’s Greetings, a peaceful and happy break, and a healthy and prosperous New Year.
December 1st sees the opening of abstract submission for the Platelet Society annual meeting.
Due to ongoing covid restrictions, the meeting will be held online and hosted by Dr Alan Harper at Keele University. The meeting will include an Early Career Researcher day and two days of talks and discussions. Being online, it is hoped that the meeting can be attended by a wide range of platelet and megakaryocyte scientist including colleagues from overseas.
More details about the meeting can be found at https://plateletsociety.co.uk/keele-2021/ including the link for abstract submission.
The 18th November is International LGBTQ+STEM day, an opportunity to celebrate and promote diversity in Science, as well as to highlight the challenges and discrimination faced by members of these and other communities.
There are a range of activities planned for the day and further details can be found at https://prideinstem.org/lgbtstemday/ – we will be highlighting some of these on our Twitter Feed throughout the day.
Excitingly, the Society is also launching a new feature called “Clot Chat”. This will be a regular series of videocasts featuring interviews and discussions with Platelet Society members and featuring topics relevant to Society members. To celebrate LGBTQ+STEM day, the first episode of Clot Chat features a discussion with members of the Platelet Society about issues faced by LGBTQ+ scientists and how we can work to make the Society inclusive. You can watch the first episode here, and future episodes will be available from the News and Events menu of our webpage.
Tuesday 13th October saw the Platelet Society joining with researchers, clinicians and patients from across the world to recognise World Thrombosis Day
Marking the anniversary of the birth of Rudolph Virchow, one of the founders of the study of thrombosis, World Thrombosis Day aims to raise awareness of this important disease and to highlight the important work being done to understand , treat and prevent it.
Members of the Platelet Society are actively involved in understanding the roles of platelets in thrombosis and in developing novel ways to manage and treat it. Furthermore, we undertake education and outreach activities to engage with members of the public to highlight the important work we do and to educate on risk factors for the disease.
More details of our activities can be seen on our Twitter feed and some recent examples are highlighted below. If you fancy trying one of the outreach activities yourself, see this video from committee member Amanda Unsworth!
There is lots more information on World Thrombosis Day on their website.
Monday 12th October saw the Platelet Society hold its 2020 AGM.
In a year where Covid-19 has caused widespread disruption to all aspects of our lives, the Society reflected on how this has affected our members and their research.
The cancellation of the Birmingham Velo, a major fundraiser for the Society, means that we, like all small charities have lost important income for the year and fundraising continues to be a challenge.
The closure of universities and research labs severely impacted our ability to do research, and although a lot of reviews have been written, it is only recently that students and post-docs have been able to restart experiments and return to their projects. In addition, the wide range of scientific meetings and conferences we attend was decimated by lockdowns and travel restrictions, depriving us of the networking and discussions that form an important aspect of our community.
Despite this, we have seen Platelet Society members find innovative ways to work and keep research moving forward. From our fantastic virtual ECR meeting run by Paul, Kirk and Carly, the establishment of ECR working groups to address specific questions for the society, to our members being involved in important research into Covid-19 and thrombosis.
The AGM also saw the launch of our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion survey and our statement of intent for how the Society will ensure that EDI is core to everything it does. Members are encouraged to complete the survey which can be found here, and to visit our EDI webpages to findout more.
Finally, we showed an outreach video, created by Amanda Unsworth, to highlight the importance of the work that our members do. The video can be seen below.
The Platelet Society has joined in with National Post-doc Appreciation week (21st – 25th September) and has been spotlighting the amazing post-docs we have as members of the Society.
See all their smiling faces on our Twitter Feed!
Platelet Society ECR Working Group
In a recent ECR survey, we asked you what you wanted from the Society. 60% of respondents said that they would like to see additional activities from the society. Activities that people would like to see include:
- announcements/notice board/blog
- Mentoring/career development opportunities
- Skills repository
In response to this Carly Kempster and Kirk Taylor are launching an ECR Working Group to implement new initiatives to deliver on your feedback.
The working group will consist of six people and will be tasked with developing three projects.
- Mentoring and professional development
- Engaging with members
- Knowledge transfer
More information can be found here. The group will be supported by The Platelet Society Executive Committee. Please contact Carly or Kirk if you would like any additional information or discuss the roles informally. We are keen to reflect the diversity of the society and applications are open to all ECRs. Please do encourage your colleagues and peers to apply.
Applications are open through September (closing 30/09/20) and appointments confirmed in October.
The Platelet Society Virtual Early Career Researcher Meeting
Thursday 3rd September
13:00 to 16:00 BST
There is now just 1 week to go before our Virtual Early Career Researchers meeting.
Make sure you register in plenty of time to be a part of this meeting.
Register now: https://bit.ly/ECR_2020
Meeting programme: Virtual ECR programme
The Platelet Society is launching a challenge to all members and their friends and family.
Can we walk, run and cycle the distance between all the labs of Platelet Society members in the UK!
Just the short distance of 2625 Km!
Want to take up the challenge? Find out more on our Platelet Lab Link-Up page and get recording those miles!
In light of the recent developments across Europe regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, the Platelet Society has been monitoring the situation carefully and reviewing our forthcoming events.
It is currently uncertain how quickly our lives will be able to return to some form of normality and when it will be feasible to hold meetings again. We also feel strongly that we do not wish to allow delegates and presenters to feel compelled to travel at a time when uncertainty may still remain.
The Early Career Researchers meeting schedule for the 23rd April has now been postponed until Thursday 3rd September 2020. This date will of course be subject to review given the continuing uncertainty over the duration of the pandemic. This meeting will still be held at QMUL and all bookings have been carried forward.
As it becomes more certain that the meeting will proceed on the revised date, we will provide further updates. At that time we will also offer guidance on opportunities for submission of new abstracts and data.
Platelet Summer School
The platelet summer school scheduled for Spetember 2020 has been postponed until September 2021. Further information on the revised date and registration information will be posted at the end of 2020.
We hope that you and your familes are able to stay safe over the coming weeks.
Jon, Paul & Kirk
Platelet Society members had the opportunity to attend the Northern Vascular Biology Forum (NVBF) meeting hosted by Sheffield Hallam University in December.
This year, Dr Sarah Jones chaired the first session and Professor Khalid Naseem gave a plenary talk on new models of platelet hyperactivity and thrombosis. Dr Amanda Unsworth gave a talk on repurposing drugs as anti-thrombotics and Ryan Riley (PhD student, Manchester Metropolitan University, Supervisor Dr Sarah Jones) gave an oral presentation on the endothelial contribution to thrombus formation and antithrombotic efficacy. Manchester Met postgraduate students Amelia Drysdale (PhD) and Badrija Khalifa (MRes) both presented posters.
Outside of the field, and of particular interest to platelet researchers was a presentation by Dr Torsten Schenkel, on fluid dynamics from Sheffield Hallam University. Dr Schenkel highlighted the effect of blood rheology on cells and platelets, presenting a model of vascular fluid dynamics and demonstrating the value of interdisciplinary collaboration. Following the final presentation, Professor Naseem chaired a session on applying for funding from Heart Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.
The meeting covered a variety of topics related to cardiovascular science, some of which had implications in platelet research. The diverse range of knowledge and expertise of the researchers in attendance contributed to the overall success of this meeting, opening up opportunities for learning and collaboration across the specialism and benefitting early career researchers across the region. Overall, a strong showing from the northern Platelet Society members to a very successful and enjoyable meeting.
Report by Ryan Riley and Amelia Drysdale
The Platelet Society has secured a number of places at the highly sought after Velo – Birmingham & Midlands cycle event.
Being held on Sunday 21st June 2020, Velo is a 100 mile cycle road around the West Midlands on closed roads. It is a great day out and hopefully we should be able to raise much needed funds to support the work of the Society. We have a limited number of guaranteed places available on the event – in return for one we ask that you raise sponsorship for the Society and its work.
The cost of a place is £84 and we ask that people aim to raise at least £150 each for the Society.
If you, or someone you know, is interested, please fill in the application form at http://bit.ly/Plateletsocietyvelo and help us be a part of this great event.
If you’re not much of a cyclist, you can still get involved by coming along and cheering them on and by sponsoring our athletes! Details will be posted shortly.
The Platelet Society is delighted to announce Professor Jeremy Pearson FMedSci MBE as the newly appointed Chair of Trustees.
Jeremy brings a wealth of experience to our Trustee board and we are very much looking forward to working with him. Jeremy’s role as Chair, will be to raise the profile of the Society in the community, to support its fund raising activities, and to oversee Governance.
Jeremy’s research career has been as an endothelial cell biologist, with particular interest in understanding the intracellular signalling pathways controlling the secretion or surface expression of endothelial cell molecules that control vascular tone and permeability, blood coagulation, and leukocyte and platelet function.
Jeremy led research teams at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge, and then the MRC Clinical Research Centre in Harrow before moving to King’s College London (KCL) in 1991, where he became the UK’s first Professor of Vascular Biology. Jeremy was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2004, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 2006, and awarded an MBE for services to medical research in the 2020 New Year’s Honours list.
In 2002 Jeremy joined the British Heart Foundation as Associate Medical Director, initially part-time but full-time from 2010, retaining an Emeritus chair at KCL.
Jeremy has been an executive committee or working group member for a series of professional societies during his career (including the European Thrombosis Research Organisation and the British Society of Haemostasis & Thrombosis). Jeremy was a Council member of the Association of Medical Research Charities from 2012-18, and he has extensive trustee board experience, Jeremy is currently also the Chair of the Trustee Boards of Scleroderma & Raynaud’s UK and Understanding Animal Research.
Jeremy will take over as Chair of the Trustees with immediate effect. The Platelet Society would like to convey our sincerest thanks to Dr Sarah Jones, the interim Chair, for her organisation through a successful period of establishment and development of the Society.
Registration for the 2nd Platelet Society Early Career Researchers meeting is now open. The meeting will be held at the Blizard Institute in London on the 23rd April 2020 and promises to be a vibrant and exciting meeting focused on ECRs and careers. You can register for the meeting and submit an abstract by visiting the meeting page found here.
Please help to spread the word to all platelet/megakaryocyte related ECRs. A flyer for the meeting can be found here
The 2019 European Congress on Thrombosis and Haemostasis was held in Glasgow, UK (2nd – 4th Oct 2019) and included two special Platelet Society sessions for PhD students and early career researchers.
The Platelet Society sessions included talks from invited speakers and gave a great opportunity for early career researchers to present their work to a diverse audience of clinical and basic researchers. The first session consisted of four confidently delivered talks by PhD students from London, Reading and Leeds. The second session included three talks from early career researchers from Reading and Manchester. The sessions were very well attended and achieved strong engagement from the audience, which was reflected by great questions and discussions. The ECTH conference overall included several talks from UK platelet researchers and Platelet Society members and incorporated innovative new formats for talks, including TEDx-style ‘fast and furious’ sessions and ‘controversial corner’. Although the inaugural ECTH conference was only held in 2016, it is clear that it will be an important fixture for platelet researchers in the future.
Alex Bye (University of Reading)
Amanda Unsworth (MMU) Rachel Stapley (UoB)
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
With just under 2 weeks to go until the start of the Platelet Society meeting in Cambridge, we are pleased to announce that the final programme is now available.
To see the list of speakers, please download a copy of the programme which can be found by clicking the link below.
A full copy of the programme, complete with abstracts will be sent to all meeting attendees.
We look forward to welcoming you all to Cambridge!
The inaugural AGM of the Platelet Society will be held on Thursday 12th September in Cambridge during the Plalelet Society Meeting. As part of the AGM we will be presenting our annual report to highlight our activities over the last two years, presenting the society accounts and electing new members of the society committee.
This year a number of committee members will complete their terms of office and so we have several positions available. Specifically, three ordinary committee members and two Early Career Researcher (ECR) members – role descriptors for these positions can be found here (Committee roles_Final).
Given this is our first AGM we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight the procedures related to nomination and election of members.
To nominate yourself to be placed on the ballot requires completion of a nomination form (form available here). You are also able to nominate others to become part of the committee, but please ensure you have sought their permission in advance. All nominees must be members of the Platelet Society (become a member here). The nominations for committee membership are open now and will remain open until Midday on Thursday 12th September.
In the first afternoon session of the Society meeting there will be a brief presentation to notify all attendees of the individuals who are standing for the election. This information will also be hosted on our webpage to ensure those not attending the meeting are aware of the candidates.
Voting will take place via the voting form which will be sent to all members by email when voting opens (we will also display the link at the meeting). Members will be able to cast votes between 1pm Thursday 12th and 1pm Friday 13th September, with each member having two votes, one for the ordinary member positions and one for ECR positions. All candidates will be ranked according to the number of votes they receive and the top three ordinary members and top two ECR members will be elected. The committee Chair will only vote in the event of a tie.
We will announce the results of the elections in the final session of the society meeting.
If you have any queries please email email@example.com
We look forward to seeing you in Cambridge!
Congratulations to Beverley Hunt, Professor of thrombosis and haemostasis at King’s College London, who has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours, recognising her services to patients and medical research.
Abstract submission for the 2019 Platelet Society meeting in Cambridge is now open.
Please use the link below to submit your abstract. Abstract submission will close on the 14th June.
Further information about the meeting can be found on the platelet society webpage.
Congratulations to Dr Amanda Unsworth on her new position as Lecturer in Haematology at Manchester Metropolitan University (School of Healthcare Science). Amanda is well know to many platelet researchers having completed her PhD between the Oxford and Birmingham platelet labs, before doing her post-doc at Reading. Amanda was also the chair of the recent GRS meeting on the Cell Biology of Megakaryocytes and Platelets in Galvaston, Texas. Her report from that meeting can be found here.
Report by Dr Amanda Unsworth, Manchester Metropolitan University
The 2019, Gordon Research Conference and its associated Gordon Research Seminar for Early Career Researchers for the Cell Biology of Megakaryocytes and Platelets was held in Galveston, Texas, US (23rd February – 1st March).
The GRS was held 2 days prior to the main meeting and consisted of selected talks, poster sessions and a mentorship component. Over 70 early career researchers attended from all across the globe. The invited keynote speaker was Dr Cedric Ghevaert (University of Cambridge) who presented his research on Producing Platelets In Vitro, focusing on the ‘Challenges of MK Production and Platelet Release or Clinical Use’. Selected talks were varied and interesting and were followed by engaging discussion. Congratulations to platelet society member Laura Menke (Queen Mary University of London) who was selected to present her work on how ‘Dihomo-Gamma-Linolenic Acid Alters the Proteomic Releasate Profile and Reduces Platelet Reactivity’.
In addition to the scientific sessions, the GRS also contained a mentorship component, ‘Developing a Career in Academia: Insights and Perspectives’ where Professor Zhen Gu (University of California) and Dr Kellie Machlus (Harvard Medical School) shared their career path and how they overcame the challenges they faced. The session was insightful and provided attendees with lots of advice to consider in their next steps!
Congratulations to Platelet Society member Dr Kirk Taylor (Imperial College London) who was elected as Co-Chair for the next GRS in 2021. That makes 2021 the 4th consecutive GRS to be chaired by someone from a UK Platelet Lab!
The program of the main GRC, chaired by Professor Wolfgang Bergmeier, highlighted the latest developments in fundamental science, technological innovation, and the clinical progress in this field. The GRC consisted of four and a half days of talks and poster session. As is the nature of the Gordon conferences, days were split into morning and evening talk sessions with the afternoons left for networking and poster sessions.
Sessions covered a diverse range of topics, with longer invited talks mixed in with shorter selected presentations. Topics covered included the basic biology and clinical application of platelet receptors and signalling pathways, megakaryocyte lineage development and disruptions in the bone marrow niche, novel ways to generate designer platelets and platelet-like particles for clinical use, studies that expand our horizon of what platelets and megakaryocytes can do, especially in the setting of immunity and inflammation, and cutting edge technologies to study these cells on a single cell level.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable meeting, with many interesting talks and posters presented which encouraged many lively discussions. The meeting opened on Sunday evening with keynote lectures from Prof. John Crispino (Northwestern University) on his latest findings on Defective Megakaryopoiesis in the Myeloproliferative Neoplasms, and Prof. Karin Hoffmeister (Blood Center of Wisconsin) who presented her work on Novel insights into Glycans and Hematopoiesis.
During Monday afternoon Renaho Li (Emory University) and Ilaria Cannobbio (University of Pavia) hosted the GRC Power Hour, a session created to discuss and help address the challenges women face in science and provide mentorship to support professional women within the scientific community. The discussions were insightful and covered a variety of topics including the gender pay gap, balancing work and family commitments, attrition of females into more senior academic posts and career mentorship.
Congratulations to Prof. Wolfgang Bergmeier (Chair) and Prof. Elizabeth E. Gardiner (Vice-Chair) for such a successful meeting and congratulations to Prof. Yotis Senis (University of Birmingham) for his election to Co-Chair for the (2023 meeting – Co-Vice Chair for 2021).
Many congratulations to Sarah Daniels, a PhD student at Manchester Metropolitan University with Dr Sarah Jones and Prof Yvonne Alexander, who successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled ‘Risk Stratification for Thrombosis in Type 2 Diabetic Patients’ on 17th January. The thesis was examined by Prof Khalid Naseem (University of Leeds) and Dr Garry McDowell (MMU).
Well done to Sarah and we wish you success in your future career.
UK based platelet researchers, including members of The Platelet Society, attended the recent Gordon Research Conference on the Cell Biology of Megakaryocytes and Platelets in Galvaston, Texas.
In addition, Dr Amanda Unsworth of Manchester metropolitan Unversity, was the chair of the Gordon Research Symposium, a 2 day focused meeting for ECRs that ran before the main meeting and was a great success. Well done to Amanda and all the delegates that made this a great meeting.
Professor Yotis Senis was elected as the co-chair for the 2021 meeting. Congratulations to Yotis and we look forward to the meeting in Italy in two years time.
Initial details of the 2019 Platelet Society Meeting have been posted to the events page.
Further details will be sent our soon, but in the meantime, put the date in your diary. Don’t forget that members of the Platelet Society will receive a discount on registration!
Congratulations go to Abdullah Khan, PhD student at the University of Birmingham with Neil Morgan and Steve Thomas, who passed his PhD viva on the 21st November. His thesis on “Applying CRISPR-Cas Gene Editing and PALM Super-Resolution Microscopy To Investigate Molecular Causes of Inherited Thrombocytopenias” was examined by Dr Markus Bender (University of Wuerzburg) and Prof. Robin May (University of Birmingham).
Also well done to Platelet Society member and PhD student, Thomas O’Sullivan from the University of Birmingham, who won the basic science poster prize at the recent Midlands Cardiovascular Research Network for his poster entitled “Imaging actin dynamics throughout ingression membrane system development”.
Don’t forget to send us your good news stories for sharing with the platelet community.
17th – 19th September 2018
As scientists we are spoilt with the amount of data that we have available to understand biology and how this goes wrong in disease. The scale of the data is, however, enormous, and therefore understanding how to use it effectively is a challenge. A pertinent example of this is genomics data. Platelet biologist frequently don’t think about genomics data, because platelets don’t have a nucleus, and therefore do not have a genome. Platelets do inherit genetic information from megakaryocytes, the large cells found in the bone marrow that produce platelets, so genomics can tell is a great deal about how platelets are controlled, why sometimes they trigger thrombotic disease, and potentially also allow us to predict the risk of developing a platelet-related disorder. A Workshop in Bio-informatics was therefore held in Cambridge to train platelet biologists in important new skills to utilise genomics data in our studies, and to create a network to support research in this area.
The Workshop in Bioinformatics was a great opportunity to learn cutting-edge techniques for genomic analysis directly from researchers that are using and developing them.
The 3-day workshop included seminars and workshops on:
- Long read sequencing technologies
- Short read whole genome data: calling of variants
- Assigning function to the non-coding space
- Machine learning and AI to integrate genomic, transcriptomic and epigenomic data
- Protein–protein interactions: Pathways and Networks
We would like to thank the organisers and speakers for delivering an excellent programme and for inviting platelet researchers to attend.
Report by Alex Bye (Reading). Photos courtesy of Zoltan Nagy (Birmingham)
The 2nd Joint Meeting of the International Society of Fibrinolysis and Proteolysis and the Plasminogen Activation Workshop. Edinburgh 2018
The 2018 proteolysis and fibrinolysis meeting was held in Edinburgh and consisted of three and half days of talks and poster sessions. This meeting was focused largely on the field of fibrinolysis inhibitors and activators.
The days were split into sessions made up of a series of short 10 minute talks, and these were followed up by longer 1 hour state of the art presentations. This gave the conference a great pace, as we got to listen to a lot of quick talks and also got to enjoy a small number of more detailed talks by leading researchers. The state of the art talks ranged from basic science to clinical research, and a few of the talks bridged the gap between the two areas rather nicely. The speakers for the state of the art talks were all excellent and offered up some up the best talks of the meeting.
The shorter talks served as great ways of initiating discussions in the break/poster sessions, where more time could be spent discussing projects in more detail. After giving my short talk, I was asked a number of very interesting questions which we were able to further follow up with over coffee. This is greatest outcome of this meeting, as the discussions I had with other scientists allowed for new ideas to be bounced around and also provided new insights into the work and results. The breaks were frequent enough that you had time to chat and ask questions to everyone.
Overall the 2018 proteolysis meeting was a great conference. Even though a lot of the talks were slightly out of my field, they were all very well presented and the discussions I had with all the other attendees was incredibly useful.
The Platelets journal recently ran their annual cover image competition which will feature on the cover of the journal for the whole of 2019. Several Platelet Society members entered stunning images, but the final winners were Nathan Eaton and Hervé Falet from the Blood Research Institute (Wisconsin) for their stunning image “Platelet Fireworks”, showing Dnm2-null platelets on a fibrinogen surface after GPVI activation.
Well done to Nathan and Hervé.
Look out for the call to enter in 2019!
4th EUPLAN Conference – Report by Dr Sarah Jones, Manchester Metropolitan University
The European Platelet Network recently hosted the 4th EUPLAN meeting (19th-21st September 2018) in the beautiful city of Bruges, Belgium. The meeting focused on platelets in thrombosis and beyond, with keynote lectures on thrombopoeisis, the role of platelets in inflammation and infection, platelet contributions to Alzheimer’s disease and the potential of platelets as a platform for cancer diagnostics. It was a stimulating meeting with significant contributions from early career researchers and a strong representation from the UK platelet community, with over 40 UK delegates from 14 different institutions.
The meeting opened with a welcome address from chair of the organising committee Prof Hans Deckmyn, before keynote lectures from Dr Emma Lefrançais (University of Toulouse) presenting the highlights from her recent work published in Nature, on platelet production in the lungs, and Dr Dominique Baruch (INSERM UMR-S 1140), who gave an excellent overview of ex-vivo platelet production. The welcome reception then preceded at City Hall, an impressive Gothic building in the heart of Bruges built between 1376 and 1421.
The second day of the meeting started with keynote lectures from Dr Benoit Ho-Tin-Noe (INSERM Unit 1148), who discussed the importance of platelets in preventing bleeding and showed evidence to suggest that platelets are recruited to sites of neutrophil infiltration to repair the gaps in the vascular endothelium. Dr Julie Rayes (University of Birmingham) followed with a keynote lecture on Platelet ITAM receptors and their role in inflammation. Dr Rayes elegantly highlighted the divergent role of GPVI and CLEC-2 in inflammation, despite sharing a common signalling pathway and presented evidence on the beneficial role of impaired vascular integrity in tissue repair.
There were also ten short oral communications including a presentation from Dr Markus Bender (University Hospital Wuerzburg), suggesting that platelet lamellipodia were not required for thrombus stability, stimulating interesting discussion; and Dr Giordano Pula (University of Exeter) describing platelet dependent angiogenesis and repair mechanisms via platelet derived deoxyriobose-1-phosphate.
The day concluded with a keynote lecture from Dr Illaria Cannobio (University of Pavia), summarising her work on the toxicity of amyloid peptides in the circulation and the role of platelets in the link between cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Delegates then had the opportunity to take in the beautiful sights of Bruges with a boat trip along the canals before the conference dinner at the Half Moon Brewery.
The final day of the meeting started with a keynote lecture from Dr Olivier Peyruchaud (INSERM U1033), who presented data demonstrating crosstalk between platelets and cancer cells via cysteinyl leukotrienes (Cys-LKT) and the CystLT1 receptor. This was followed by a keynote from Dr Cecile Oury (University of Liege) who gave an interesting insight into the potential role of platelets in propagating a microenvironment, which drives tumourogenesis through bridging haemostatic and inflammatory signals. Short communications included a presentation from Dr Judith Cosemans (Maastrict University) on the differential effects of PDE3 and -5 on platelet function under haemostatic and inflammatory conditions, and a presentation from Jo Mitchell (University of Reading) on platelet-specific factor XIIIa.
In addition to the oral presentations, vibrant discussions and debates were stimulated in the poster sessions, which were split over two days. There were over 80 posters on display, presenting high quality research on a diverse range of topics including novel diagnostic assays, novel platelet function assays, the impact of antiretroviral therapy on platelet activation, reactive oxygen species production in platelets and hyperlipidaemia and platelet function to name a few.
The meeting was a wonderful celebration of the fantastic and diverse platelet research currently underway across Europe, an ethos that is set to continue with the 5th EUPLAN meeting planned for 2021, in Milan hosted by Prof Marco Cattaneo and Prof Mauro Torti.
Many congratulations to Jawad S. Khalil, PhD student at the University of Hull with Francisco Rivero and Khalid Naseem, who passed his PhD viva on the 3rd October. His these entitled “A novel interaction of the myosin light chain phosphatase with the regulatory subunits of protein kinase A in platelets” was examined by Dr. Steve Thomas (U. of Birmingham) and Monica Arman (U. of Hull).
Well done Jawad and good luck in your future career!
The Gordon Research Seminar on the Cell Biology of Megakaryocytes & Platelets, will be held from 23rd – 24th February 2019, just prior to the associated Gordon Research Conference (GRC) (February 24th to March 1st, 2019) at Hotel Galvez, 2024 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston, Texas, United States.
The Cell Biology of Megakaryocytes and Platelets GRS is a unique forum for graduate students, post-docs, and other scientists with comparable levels of experience and education to present and exchange new data and cutting edge ideas.
The focus of this meeting is to bring together our understanding of the processes involved in the development of the megakaryocyte and platelet cell lineage and how these cells can contribute to health and disease. Submission of abstracts covering work from a range of topics including but not limited to megakaryocyte lineage development, platelet signalling, the role of platelets in disease and immunity, new therapeutic approaches to diseases involving the megakaryocyte and platelet lineage and new techniques to investigate platelet and megakaryocyte function are all welcome.
This GRS meeting will provide young investigators a unique platform for presentation and active discussion of their latest and most innovative work. Researchers will be encouraged to discuss ongoing challenges and to develop an extensive international network to establish future collaborations between the fields of megakaryocyte and platelet biology.
The deadline for abstracts to be considered for an oral presentation is November 23, 2018. Those applicants who are not chosen for talks and those who apply after the deadline to be considered for an oral presentation will be expected to present a poster. The final deadline for applications for this meeting is January 26, 2019.
The key note speaker is Cedric Ghevaert (University of Cambridge, United Kingdom), a leading expert in the area of platelet production in culture, a relatively novel technology that holds great promise for solving major obstacles in transfusion medicine and drug delivery
Through a Mentorship Component, this GRS will also provide young investigators with valuable career advice from experts who conduct basic and translational research both within and outside of academia. Panel members include:
- Zhen Gu (University of California, Los Angeles, USA)
- Kellie Machlus (Harvard Medical School, USA)
- Wolfgang Bergmeier (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA)
- Elizabeth Gardiner (Australian National University, Australia)
The seminar will feature approximately 10 selected talks and 2 poster sessions. All attendees are expected to actively participate in the GRS, either by giving an oral presentation or presenting a poster.
For more details and information on how to apply please visit: https://www.grc.org/cell-biology-of-megakaryocytes-and-platelets-grs-conference/2019/
Platelet researchers have run two recent outreach events to highlight our work to members of the public.
Skirting Science, University of Bristol
Ingeborg Hers, Samantha Moore & Gail Born at the University of Bristol took part in Skirting Science at Churchill Academy, on 28th June 2018. Skirting Science is an award-winning event organised by Soroptimist International, that aims to inspire the next generation of female scientists. They delivered a workshop that provided a hands-on experience of being a research scientist. Activities included using pulse oximeters to measure heart rates and the oxygen content of their blood, how to accurately pipette and performing size exclusion chromatography to separate proteins found in blood. Photos can be found here.
BHF Supporters’ Event, University of Birmingham
Gayle Halford and members of the Birmingham Platelet Group organised an event for regional BHF Supporters; the day kicked off with talks from the BHF’s Chief Finance Officer, Martin Miles with a Review of the Year, and a video by the Medical Director Professor Sir Nilesh Samani about the BHF’s research strategy and fund raising campaigns and achievements. This was followed by a talk highlighting some of the excellent work that is on-going in the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences. The Supporters were then taken on laboratory tours, experienced and interacted with two major forms of cardiac assessment – cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and cardiopulmonary exercise testing, and were given the chance to look down microscopes at cells, learn to pipette and play some fun games. We also had some excellent posters illustrating some of the research that is being undertaken in the Institute. We have had some really great feedback from the visitors and the BHF, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who took part and worked hard to make the day so enjoyable and worthwhile for all those who attended. Photos can be found here.
Congratulations to Professor Ingeborg Hers and Andreas Wersäll at the University of Bristol.
Ingeborg was recently promoted to a Chair position; her full title is now Professor of Pharmacology and Cell Signalling.
Andreas Wersäll, PhD student of Professor Alastair Poole at the University of Bristol, passed his PhD viva in May and graduated in July. Andreas also had his PhD paper published: “Mouse Platelet Ral GTPases Control P-Selectin Surface Expression, Regulating Platelet–Leukocyte Interaction”
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