Position: Senior Lecturer in Transfusion Medicine / Consultant Haematologist
Email: Lucy Szabo (PA): email@example.com
Tel.: +44 (0)1223 588050
The NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) research group of Dr Ghevaert is part of the Haematology Department of the University of Cambridge and its programme of research is based on platelet and megakaryocyte biology. It focuses on understanding the key biological players in platelet production all the way from haemopoietic stem cells (hSCs), through the process of megakaryopoiesis and proplatelet formation, and finally platelets themselves. The group has a keen interest in translating biological discoveries into applications for transfusion medicine and uses a multidisciplinary approach that encompasses cell biology, engineering, computational biology and population genetics, the latter in close collaboration with the group of Prof Ouwehand.
Megakaryopoiesis and platelet production in vitro
Project coordinator: TBA
This project which is funded by the NIHR looks at the feasibility of producing platelet in an in vitro system that would ultimately be applicable to transfusion into patients. The approach combines the use of bioreactors and specialized matrices with protein biology and nanotechnology to deliver growth signals to the megakaryocytes and optimize platelet production in a controlled system.
New stem cell resources for platelet production
Project coordinator: TBA
The aim of this project, also funded through the NIHR, is to create a bank of pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and a method to differentiate these cells into megakaryocytes that is applicable to transfusion medicine in patients. The approach is based on the integration of several projects: 1. Functional annotation of the genome in primary human megakaryocytes in collaboration with Dr Bertie Göttgens group to establish the network of transcription factors in megakaryopoiesis; 2. Discovery of new genetic mutations in pedigrees affected by platelet disorders in order to identify key players in platelet production.
Model organism of platelet disorders: JAK2 V617F Essential Thrombocythaemia
Project coordinator: Catherine Hobbs
This project is funded by the British Heart Foundation. The JAK2 V617F mutation is present in 50% of patients with Essential Thrombocythaemia and the clinical hallmark in this population is of an increased platelet count and risk of cardiovascular events. This project is based on the study of a knock-in model produced by Prof Anthony Green’s group and aims at identifying how the mutant JAK2 leads to increase platelet production and alters platelet function through a range of in vivo and cell biology assays.
Platelet immunology: development of new therapeutics for platelet allo-immune disorders.
Project coordinator: Cedric Ghevaert / Louise Hawkins
This project funded by the NHSBT, looks at developing new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches in the context of fetomaternal alloimmune thrombocytopenia. This disorder affects 1/1200 pregnancies in the UK and leads in 10-20% of fetus/neonates affected to severe brain haemorrhage. We have developed a recombinant blocking antibody that is currently being tested in human studies that would potentially be a much safer and effective alternative therapy to the current use of intra-uterine transfusion or immunomodulation.