‘I am a postdoctoral research scientist at the University of Bristol. My main research focus is to better understand how platelet function is regulated, and how it can be utilised for therapeutic gain. In particular, I am interested in small molecules that modulate platelet function and prevent pathological thrombus formation whilst leaving the response to injury (physiological function) in tact, a characteristic which current antiplatelet drugs lack, as their inhibitory action on platelets means that patients often have unwanted bleeding side effects.
I am currently applying for grants to study the role of a member of the oxidoreductase family, and also to develop small molecule inhibitors of receptor-ligand interactions for two key platelet adhesion/activation receptors. I am at a crucial point in my career and it is vital that I secure funding in the next 12-24 months to ensure that I meet eligibility criteria as well as progress in a timely fashion. Attending conferences is a great way to network with other academics and clinicians, promote the work, and set up collaborations that could be key to the success of a project being funded or completed.
The travel award I received from the Biochemcial Society supported my attendance to the ISTH 2015 Congress in Toronto. This meeting had over 7000 attendees, almost 500 talks, and over 2000 posters in 4 days. The ISTH is attended by world-leading researchers and clinicians and provides a forum to discuss basic science and clinical practice.
I went to the conference to present my work and find out what people in the field are doing that is new, in what direction they are taking their work in light of recent advancements, and to discuss some of the technical challenges I have faced and find solutions to overcome them.
I met with one of the groups spearheading some of the most exciting work in relation to oxidoreductases and haemostasis (Professor Bruce Furie), as well as others in the field (Professor JM Gibbins, Reading, UK and Professor P Hogg, Sydney, Australia). I also spoke with a potential collaborator from a leading platelet group in Germany with regards to setting up some in vivo assays to assess the efficacy of a small molecule inhibitor I have found that may protect the brain in a model of ischaemic stroke. I believe that this molecule holds great promise for a clinical problem for which there is currently no preventative treatment. As I am unable to do any in vivo work, this potential collaboration would open new avenues of investigative research for my work.
The breadth of the topics at the ISTH meetings encourages cross-disciplinary research and highlights the importance of basic science to clinical practice, and visa versa. I very much hope that I will be attending the next ISTH Congress, and that with the help of those I met at ISTH 2015, I can move my work forward and remain competitive in an exciting and rapidly moving discipline.’
Carmen H Coxon