Amanda’s current project involves using light sheet microscopy to try and understand more about how the process of fibrinogen uptake occurs in live megakaryocytes, in real time. Knocking-out a number of genes believed to play an important role in the uptake of fibrinogen in megakaryocytes, we can also look at how this process is altered in disease. We can even begin to explore if this mechanism of uptake can be useful for delivering proteins or drugs to platelets produced in vitro.
Amanda completed her PhD in Haematology in 2017, under the supervision of Dr Cedric Ghevaert, at the University of Cambridge. This PhD focused on deriving megakaryocytes and platelets from human induced pluripotent stem cells, using a technique known as ‘Forward Programming’. With a focus on producing platelets in vitro for use in transfusion medicine, Amanda produced an inducible stem cell line capable of forward programming, using genome editing techniques. This work will help to facilitate the future transition from small-scale lab production to large-scale clinical production of platelets. This inducible stem cell line is also an important tool for researchers interested in understanding more about how megakaryocytes develop and mature to form functional platelets. Using this stem cell line and genetic engineering approaches, such as CRISPR/Cas9, offers a powerful approach to interrogate genes of interest believed to play a critical role in the development and function of megakaryocytes.
Amanda is a STEM ambassador and also tutors an A-Level student in Biology through The Access Project, aimed at helping to get underprivileged students into higher education. Amanda received several awards during her PhD, including two best student speaker prizes at conferences and best PhD poster at the L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Awards, in 2017. As part of a public engagement initiative, Amanda and colleagues were filmed answering questions posed by the public surrounding their research. For this, they were nominated for a public engagement award by the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute.