UK Platelet Researchers attend GRC for Cell Biology of Megakaryocytes and Platelets in Galveston, Texas.
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).