Insights into platelet protein signalling from across the pond

By Anthony Battram, DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY STUDENT, University of Bristol

My PhD project focuses on the role and regulation of the protein . Professor Wolfgang Bergmeier and his group based at the University of North Carolina in the USA have recently characterised a thrombocytopenic mouse strain (hlb mice) that has a large decrease in Rasa3 expression and is therefore a useful tool to study the function of this protein in platelets. This prompted me to arrange a visit to the Bergmeier laboratory. During this trip I generated some very useful data concerning the role of Rasa3 in ‘outside-in’ integrin signalling in platelets. An example of a microscope image from my visit showing spreading of platelets from hlb mice is shown below.

Anthony Battram

This lab visit was enjoyable, but also of great benefit to my career. Firstly, carrying out assays using these mice will significantly increase the impact of my study, thus improving the potential to publish my work in a high impact journal. Furthermore, the great experience that I had working in another academic lab has enthused me to carry on my career in research.

Even though the visit was just for a short period of time, I took advantage of having access to different ways of thinking and working, which has given me greater perspective on my PhD project and academic working practises. Finally, I was able to form new and important collaborations for my future career in research.

Overall, this visit to the Bergmeier lab was a rare but golden opportunity for me to carry out research in a highly esteemed laboratory.

The Biochemical Society funded a travel grant that enabled me to arrange the visit described above. Without this travel grant I would not have been able to perform experiments that are likely to be critical to my thesis and a publication.


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