The Platelet Society held its first ECR meeting on the 13th July 2018 at Manchester Metropolitan University.
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