Birmingham Platelet Group

Human platelets spread on collagen, labelled for the collagen receptor GPVI (magenta) and the actin cytoskeleton (cyan)

The Birmingham Platelet Group adopts a multidisciplinary approach in the investigation of platelet and megakaryocyte biology, which ranges from cell biology, signal transduction and functional studies through to the use of mouse models and studies on patients.

Human platelets spread on fibrinogen, labelled for the actin cytoskeleton (green) and phosphorylated proteins (red)

Current Projects

  • Understanding mechanisms of thrombosis and thrombocytopenia in COVID-19 and with SARS-CoV-2 vaccines
  • The effect of Btk inhibition on platelet activation and thrombosis (focussing on hepatic portal vein thrombosis)
  • Novel antiplatelet drugs targeting GPVI
  • Precision medicine to improve antiplatelet therapy for patients with acute coronary syndromes
  • Cell surface receptors and their signalling pathways, focusing on stimulatory and inhibitory tyrosine kinase-linked receptors e.g. GPVI and CLEC-2
  • Structural studies on ligand binding
  • The genetics of platelet bleeding disorders
  • Megakaryocytopoiesis and platelet formation
  • Models of venous and arterial thrombosis
  • Animal models of cardiovascular diseases
  • Actin polymerisation
  • Super-resolution microscopy
  • Platelet function testing
  • Granule biogenesis and secretion
  • Role of platelets in inflammation and infection
  • Extracellular vesicles
  • Platelet procoagulant activity
  • Genotyping and Phenotyping of Platelets
  • European Platelet Network
  • The Platelet Society

Selected Publications

Paul Harrison

  1. S Kemble, A Dalby, G Lowe, P Nicolson, S Watson, Y Sena, S Thomas, P Harrison. (2022) Analysis of Preplatelets and Their Barbell Platelet Derivatives by Imaging Flow Cytometry. Blood Advances, ADV-2021-006073R2
  2. Joshua Price, Chris Gardiner, Paul Harrison (2021)  Platelet‐enhanced plasma: Characterization of a novel candidate resuscitation fluid's extracellular vesicle content, clotting parameters, and thrombin generation capacity, Transfusion, 61(7):2179-2194
  3. Cato LD, Bailiff B, Price J, Ermogeneous C, Hazeldine J, Lester W, Lowe G, Wearn C, Bishop JRB, Lord JM, Moiemen N, Harrison P (2021) Heparin resistance in severe thermal injury: A prospective cohort study.  Burns Trauma. 20;9:tkab032. doi: 10.1093/burnst/tkab032.

Neil Morgan

  1. Khan, AO; Slater, A; Maclachlan, A; Nicolson, PLR; Pike, JA; Reyat, JS; Yule, J; Stapley, R; Rayes, J; Thomas, SG; Morgan, NV Post-translational polymodification of β1-tubulin regulates motor protein localisation in platelet production and function. Haematologica, 2020 vol. Online ahead of print
  2. Fletcher SJ, Johnson B, Lowe GC, Bem D, Drake S, Lordkipanidzé M, Sánchez Guiú I,Dawood B, Rivera J, Simpson MA, Daly ME, Motwani J, Collins PW, Watson SP and Morgan NV  SLFN14 mutations underlie thrombocytopenia with excessive bleeding and platelet secretion defects. J Clin Invest (2015), 125 (9), 3600-05.
  3. Damgaard RB, Walker JA, Marco-Casanova P, Morgan NV, Titheradge HL, Elliott PR, McHale D, Maher ER, McKenzie ANJ and Komander D. The deubiquitinase OTULIN is an essential negative regulator of inflammation and autoimmunity. Cell (2016) 166, 1215-30.

Pip Nicolson

  1. Nicolson PLR, Hughes CE, Watson, SK, Nock, SH, Hardy, AT, Watson CN, Montague SJ, Malcor JD, Thomas MR, Pollitt AY, Tomlinson MG, Pratt GE, Watson SP. Inhibition of Btk by Btk-specific concentrations of ibrutinib and acalabrutinib delays but does not block platelet aggregation to GPVI. Haematologica. 2018;103(12):2097-2108 
  2. Nicolson PLR, Nock SH, Hinds J, Garcia-Quintanilla L, Smith CW, Campos J, Brill A, Pike JA, Khan AO, Poulter NS, Kavanagh DM, Watson S, Watson CN, Clifford H, Huissoon AP, Pollitt AY, Eble JA, Pratt G, Watson SP and Hughes CE. Low dose Btk inhibitors selectively block platelet activation by CLEC-2. Haematologica. 2020. DOI:10.3324/haematol.2019.218545
  3. Nicolson PLR, Perry R, Buka R, Fisher A, Scott, G, Magill L et al. A single 1 g/kg dose of intravenous immunoglobulin is a safe and effective treatment for immune thrombocytopenia; results of the first HaemSTAR “Flash-Mob” retrospective study incorporating 961 patients. Brit J Haem. 2021. https://doi.org10.1111/bjh.17692

Natalie Poulter

  1. Montague SJ Delierneux C, Lecut C, Layios N, Dinsdale RJ, Lee CS, Poulter NS, Andrews RK, Hampson P, Wearn CM, Maes N, Bishop J, Bamford A, Gardiner C, Lee WM, Iqbal T, Moiemen N, Watson SP, Oury C, Harrison P and Gardiner EE. Soluble GPVI is elevated in injured patients: shedding is mediated by fibrin activation of GPVI. Blood Adv. 2018 Feb 13;2(3):240-251.
  2. Poulter N.S, Pollitt A.Y, Owen D.M, Gardiner E.E, Andrews R.K, Shimizu H, Ishikawa D, Bihan D, Farndale R.W, Moroi M, Watson S.P and Jung S.M. Clustering of glycoprotein VI (GPVI) dimers upon adhesion to collagen as a mechanism to regulate GPVI signaling in platelets (2017). Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, 15(3):549-564. 

Mark Thomas

  1. Thomas, M. R. et al. Prognostic impact of baseline inflammatory markers in patients with acute coronary syndromes treated with ticagrelor and clopidogrel. European Hear J Acute Cardiovasc Care 2048872619878075 (2019) doi:10.1177/2048872619878075.
  2. Thomas, M. R. et al. Platelet P2Y12 Inhibitors Reduce Systemic Inflammation and Its Prothrombotic Effects in an Experimental Human Model. Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis Vasc Biology 35, 2562–70 (2015). 

Steve Watson

  1. Nicolson PLR, Nock SH, Hinds J, Garcia-Quintanilla L, Smith CW, Campos J, Brill A, Pike JA, Khan AO, Poulter NS, Kavanagh DM, Watson S, Watson CN, Clifford H, Huissoon A, Pollitt AY, Eble JA, Pratt G, Watson SP and Hughes CE (2021). Low dose Btk inhibitors selectively block platelet activation by CLEC-2. Haematologica 106: 208-219 
  2. Slater A, Di Y, Clark J, Jooss NJ, Martin EM, Alenazy F, Thomas M, Ariëns R, Herr AB, Poulter N, Emsley J and Watson S (2021) Structural characterisation of a novel GPVI nanobody-complex reveals a biologically active domain-swapped GPVI dimer. Blood 24 3443-3453
  1. Montague SJ, Patel P, Martin EM, Slater A, Garcia Quintanilla L, Perrella G, Kardeby C, Nagy M, Mezzano D, Mendes PM and Watson SP (2021) Platelet activation by charged ligands and nanoparticles: platelet glycoprotein receptors as pattern recognition receptors.  Platelets 32, 779-785

For full publications lists see:


Birmingham Platelet Group in April 2019

Principal Investigators

Postdoctoral Researchers

  • Joshua Bourne
  • Joanne Clark
  • Amanda Dalby
  • Emma Faulkner
  • Eleyna Martin
  • Samantha Montague
  • Luis Moran
  • Alexandre Slater
  • Chris Smith
  • Rachel Stapley

PhD/MD Students

  • Ali Asiri
  • Hosam Baksamawi
  • Helena Brown
  • Richard Buka
  • Hilaire Cheung
  • Martina Colicchia
  • Foteini-Nafsika Damaskinaki
  • Evie Garlick
  • Maan Harbi
  • Oscar Hargreaves
  • Natalie Jooss
  • Raluca Neagoe
  • Gina Perrella
  • Joshua Price
  • Hrushikesh Vyas
  • Jack Yule
  • Zhaogong Zhi
  • Newal Zia

Consultant Pharmacist

  • Nazish Khan

Research Technicians

  • Mrs Ying Di
  • Dr Beata Grygielska
  • Ms Nayandeep Kaur
  • Ms Xueqing Wang
  • Ms Katharine Whitworth 

Research Co-ordinator

  •  Mrs Gayle Halford

Project and Grant Writing Officer

  • Mrs Caroline McKay

Close ties with other Principal Investigators on platelet related projects


Birmingham Platelet Group - Alexandre Slater

Interview with Alex Slater

My name is Alex Slater and I am a post doctoral researcher at the University of Birmingham. My background consists of studying protein to protein interactions and protein structure. I am currently working on platelet receptor glycoprotein VI, a receptor which is involved in thrombosis. I am researching how the structure of this receptor and its interactions with other proteins is linked with its function, and how we can develop drugs to target this receptor. 

For further information on Alex's research please contact Alex or Alex's supervisor Professor Steve Watson (

Birmingham Platelet Group - Evelyn Garlick

Interview with Evelyn Garlick

I am a PhD student, jointly supervised by Dr. Steven Thomas (UoB) and Dr. Stephen Briddon (UoN). My PhD studies focus on using advanced and super resolution microscopy techniques to investigate the role of actin dynamics on adenosine receptor organisation. 

For further information on Evie’s research, please contact Evie’s supervisor Dr Steven Thomas (

Birmingham Platelet Group - Foteini Nafsika Damaskinaki

Interview with Foteini Nafsika Damaskinaki

My name is Fay and I am a PhD student. I am a chemist with a background in organic synthesis and medicinal chemistry of compounds with diagnostic and therapeutic use. My project is aimed at the development of novel fluorescent tools, and the methodology to study a new biological target in platelets for safer antithrombotic drugs.

For further information on Fay's research, please contact Fay’s supervisors Professor Steve Watson, ( or Professor Barrie Kellam, (


Birmingham Platelet Group - Joshua Bourne

Interview with Joshua Bourne

I am a 2nd year PhD scientist investigating how platelets interact with white blood cells during infections. Alongside science, I am a keen rugby player and guitarist – but I escape to the beach whenever possible to surf. 

For further information on Josh’s research, please contact Josh’s supervisor Dr Julie Rayes (


Birmingham Platelet Group - Luis Moran

Interview with Luis Moran

My name is Luis Moran and I was born in Venezuela. As a pharmacist, I am excited about pharmacology and biochemical research. I was inspired to pursue a scientific career, so I decided to obtain a master’s degree in Biochemistry. Currently, I am a member of the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences. My Joint European Doctorate focuses on the development of potent and specific inhibitors against CLEC-2, a platelet receptor involved in the development of thrombosis on the venous system. This project is funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 research innovation programme.

For further information on Luis’s research, please contact Luis or, or his supervisor Professor Steve Watson (


Birmingham Platelet Group - Martina Colicchia

Interview with Martina Colicchia

Wellcome LogoMy name is Martina and I am a student funded by the Wellcome Trust. In my PhD, I am studying platelet-immune cell interaction during sepsis in the context of cardiovascular diseases and ageing. 

For further information on Martina’s research, please contact Martina’s supervisor Dr Julie Rayes (


Birmingham Platelet Group - Rachel Stapley

Interview with Rachel Stapley

British Heart Foundation logoI’m Rachel and I’m a final year PhD student funded by the BHF. I have a background in human genetics, having worked in both clinical diagnostics and research settings. I am studying how genes can influence health and disease with a particular interest in cardiovascular and circulatory disorders. 

For further information on Rachel’s research, please contact Rachel or supervisor Dr Neil Morgan (


Birmingham Platelet Group - Jack Yule


Interview with Jack Yule

I am a 2nd year PhD Student within the institute, investigating novel gene variants in the platelet surface receptor GPIb-IX-V. 

For further information on Jack’s research please contact Jack, or his joint supervisors Dr Natalie Poulter and Dr Neil Morgan


Understanding the Role of Platelets in Sepsis

New Anti Platelet Drugs for Cardiovascular Disease and Thrombosis

A Collaborative Approach to Platelet Research


A Collaborative Approach to Platelet Research

Platelets in thrombosis and bleeding

Platelets in thrombosis and bleeding

Platelets in Inflammatory Disease

Platelets in Inflammatory Disease

New Anti Platelet Drugs for Cardiovascular Disease and Thrombosis

New Anti Platelet Drugs for Cardiovascular Disease and Thrombosis