Dr Steve Thomas PhD

Steve Thomas

Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences
Associate Professor in Cardiovascular Sciences

Contact details

Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
Institute of Biomedical Research
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Steve Thomas is an Associate Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences within the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Birmingham. He is the programme lead for the MRes Biomedical Research – Cardiovascular Sciences programme and co lead on the new MSc in Quantitative Bioimaging.

His main research interests centre around the role of the cytoskeleton in platelets and megakaryocytes and he applies advanced fluorescence microscopy to understanding how this impacts on thrombosis and haemostasis.


  • PhD Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Wolverhampton, 2001
  • BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences (Cell and Molecular Biology), University of Wolverhampton, 1997


Career History

  • 2021 Associate Professor in Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Birmingham
  • 2018 Senior Lecturer in Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Birmingham  
  • 2013 Lecturer in Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Birmingham
  • 2008 BHF Research Fellow, University of Birmingham
  • 2006 Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Professors Machesky and Watson, University of Birmingham
  • 2002 Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Professor Noni Franklin-Tong, University of Birmingham
  • 2000 Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Professor Jim Callow, University of Birmingham
  • 2000 PhD student, School of Applied Science, University of Wolverhampton
  • 1997 BSc (Hons), Biological Sciences, University of Wolverhampton


Dr Thomas makes a substantial contribution to teaching across the Medical School and contributes to the following programmes

Postgraduate supervision

Current PhD Students

  • Evie Garlick – ‘Using super resolution microscopy to investigate the role of actin in adenosine receptor organisation’. (COMPARE funded - writing up)
  • Tom O’Sullivan – ‘An investigation into invaginated membrane system development, dynamics and actin regulation throughout megakaryopoiesis’ (MRC funded - writing up)
  • Helena Brown – ‘The role of platelet receptors in inflammatory bleeding’ (EU ITN funded – writing up)
  • Syeeda Kabir – ‘Investigating regulatory pathways for intracellular Na+ in the atria’ (BHF funded – in 3rd year)

Current Postdoctoral research fellows

  • Dr Emma Faulkner – ‘3D visualisation of single platelets within platelet aggregates using expansion microscopy’ – (BHF funded)

Alumni PhD Students

  • Amy Davies
  • Hannah Schachtner
  • Chris Stepanek
  • Naomi Waterman
  • Alex Hardy
  • Abdullah Khan
  • Emma Faulkner
  • Sam Kemble
  • Joanne Clarke

Alumni Postdoctoral research fellows

  • Dr Natalie Poulter
  • Dr Lucia Cardo
  • Dr Victoria Simms

·      Dr Thomas is interested in supervising self-funded PhD students in the following areas

  • Super-resolution microscopy
  • Light sheet microscopy
  • Platelet and megakaryocyte formation and function
  • Actin and tubulin cytoskeleton
Please send a copy of your CV and details of your research interests via email.



Dr Thomas’s research is focused around the role of the cytoskeleton in the formation and function of platelets and megakaryocytes.

A major aim of his research has been to apply advanced fluorescence microscopy methods to the study of this cells. This includes super-resolution (dSTORM, SIM, SRRF and Expansion Microscopy) and light-sheet fluorescence microscopy (diSPIM). His current research is focusing on a number of areas incuding

  • How the actin cytoskeleton is organised within single platelets in platelet aggregates and how this underlies proper thrombus formation and stability.
  • How the actin cytoskeleton regulates the formation of the invaginated membrane system in maturing megakaryocytes, and the role this plays in proper platelet formation and release.
  • The organisation of the cortical actin cytoskeleton at the plasma membrane and how this is involved in regulating receptor signalling (with a focus on Adenosine A2 receptors).

Other activities

Dr Thomas is the academic lead for the MDS Tech Hub imaging facility. He is also the academic technical lead and member of the management board for the Centre of Membrane Proteins and Receptors (COMPARE) and the lead on high resolution imaging for the ICVS Imaging and Technology theme.

Dr Thomas is the chair of the Platelet Society Executive committee, a charity aimed at supporting research and education of platelet related disorders.

Dr Thomas is the vice-chair of the Royal Microscopical Society Life Science Committee aimed at supporting the use of microscopes in cell biology studies.

Dr Thomas organises the ICVS seminar series.


Recent publications


Montague, S, Price, J, Pennycott, K, Pavey, N, Slater, E, Thirlwell, I, Kemble, S, Monteiro, C, Redmond-Motteram, L, Lawson, N, Reynolds, K, Fratter, C, Bignell, P, Groenheide, A, Huskens, D, Laat, BD, Pike, JA, Poulter, N, Thomas, S, Lowe, G, Lancashire, J, Harrison, P & Morgan, N 2024, 'Comprehensive functional characterisation of a novel ANO6 variant in a new patient with Scott Syndrome', Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtha.2024.02.021

Kemble, S, Dalby, A, Lowe, G, Nicolson, P, Watson, S, Senis, Y, Thomas, S & Harrison, P 2022, 'Analysis of preplatelets and their barbell platelet derivatives by imaging flow cytometry', Blood Advances, vol. 6, no. 9, pp. 2932–2946. https://doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2021006073

Faulkner, E, Pike, J, Densham, R, Garlick, E, Thomas, S, Neely, R & Morris, J 2022, 'Imaging nanoscale nuclear structures with expansion microscopy', Journal of Cell Science, vol. 135, no. 14, jcs259009. https://doi.org/10.1242/jcs.259009

Garlick, E, Faulkner, EL, Briddon, SJ & Thomas, SG 2022, 'Simple methods for quantifying super-resolved cortical actin', Scientific Reports, vol. 12, no. 1, 2715. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-06702-w

Pike, J, Simms, V, Smith, C, Morgan, N, Khan, A, Poulter, N, Styles, I & Thomas, S 2021, 'An adaptable analysis workflow for characterization of platelet spreading and morphology', Platelets, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 54-58. https://doi.org/10.1080/09537104.2020.1748588

Bourne, J, Beristain Covarrubias, N, Zuidscherwoude, M, Campos, J, Di, Y, Garlick, E, Colicchia, M, Terry, L, Thomas, S, Brill, A, Bayry, J, Watson, S & Rayes, J 2021, 'CLEC-2 Prevents Accumulation and Retention of Inflammatory Macrophages During Murine Peritonitis', Frontiers in immunology, vol. 12, 693974. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.693974

Faulkner, E, Thomas, S & Neely, R 2020, 'An introduction to the methodology of expansion microscopy', The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology, vol. 124, 105764. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocel.2020.105764

Chimen, M, Evryviadou, A, Box, CL, Harrison, MJ, Hazeldine, J, Dib, LH, Kuravi, SJ, Payne, H, Price, JMJ, Kavanagh, D, Iqbal, AJ, Lax, S, Kalia, N, Brill, A, Thomas, SG, Belli, A, Crombie, N, Adams, RA, Evans, S-A, Deckmyn, H, Lord, JM, Harrison, P, Watson, SP, Nash, GB & Rainger, GE 2020, 'Appropriation of GPIbα from platelet-derived extracellular vesicles supports monocyte recruitment in systemic inflammation', Haematologica, vol. 105, no. 5, pp. 1248-1261. https://doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2018.215145


Manivannan, S, Kocbiyik, M, Banga, D, Afzal, A, Zha, L, Brookes, K, Nieto, HR, Thomas, S, Read, ML, McCabe, CJ & Smith, VE 2024, 'Proto-oncogene PBF regulation of cell adhesion and motility', Thyroid Research, vol. 17, no. S1, PO3. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13044-024-00203-w


Brown, HC, Beck, S, Navarro, S, Di, Y, Soriano jerez, EM, Kaczmarzyk, J, Thomas, SG, Mirakaj, V, Watson, SP, Nieswandt, B & Stegner, D 2023, 'Antibody-mediated depletion of human CLEC-2 in a novel humanized mouse model', Blood Advances, vol. 7, no. 6, pp. 997–1000. https://doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2021006463


Kemble, S, Dalby, A, Lowe, GC, Nicolson, PLR, Watson, SP, Senis, Y, Thomas, SG & Harrison, P 2021 'Analysis of preplatelets and their barbell platelet derivatives by imaging flow cytometry' bioRxiv, pp. 1-36. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.07.30.454421

Brown, HC, Beck, S, Navarro, S, Di, Y, Jerez, EMS, Kaczmarzyk, J, Thomas, SG, Mirakaj, V, Watson, SP, Nieswandt, B & Stegner, D 2021 'Antibody-mediated depletion of human CLEC-2 in a novel humanised mouse model' bioRxiv. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.10.03.462933

Faulkner, EL, Pike, JA, Densham, RM, Garlick, E, Thomas, SG, Neely, RK & Morris, JR 2021 'Imaging nanoscale nuclear structures with expansion microscopy' bioRxiv. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.05.04.442164

Garlick, E, Faulkner, EL, Briddon, SJ & Thomas, SG 2021 'Simple methods for quantifying super-resolved cortical actin' bioRxiv. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.05.26.445864

Review article

Owen, D, Garlick, E & Thomas, S 2021, 'Super-resolution imaging approaches for quantifying F-actin in immune cells', Frontiers in cell and developmental biology, vol. 9, 676066. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2021.676066

View all publications in research portal