Dr Natalie Poulter

Natalie Poulter

Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences
Research Fellow in Cell Biology in Cardiovascular Sciences

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Natalie is a British Heart Foundation Research Fellow in the Birmingham Platelet Group headed by Professor Steve Watson.

Natalie has a strong background in cell biology and microscopy in both mammalian and plant cells. Her current research project is investigating platelet signalling using super resolution microscopy to map the location and clustering of the platelet surface receptors, combined with biochemical studies of signalling pathways.


  • PhD in Plant Cell Biology (2009)
  • BSc (Hons) in Biological Science with Study In Continental Europe (2005)


Natalie undertook her undergraduate studies at the University of Birmingham obtaining a BSc. in ‘Biological Sciences with Study in Continental Europe’. She spent her year abroad at the Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France where she completed modules in genetics, molecular cell biology and plant biotechnology.

Natalie’s PhD was in plant cell biology, investigating the role the cytoskeleton plays in the self-incompatibility response of poppy, under the supervision of Professor Noni Franklin-Tong at the University of Birmingham. Natalie’s post-doctoral research has seen her move from plants to mammalian cells where she has studied processes such as cell migration and endocytosis with Dr. Josh Rappoport.

Her current position, as a British Heart Foundation funded Research Fellow in the Birmingham Platelet Group, is centred on platelet surface receptors, their signalling and the cytoskeleton. The unifying theme throughout Natalie’s work has been the use of cutting-edge microscopy to study cell biology, which is something she thoroughly enjoys. 


  • Lecturer on the 2nd year Biosciences Module BIO268: Cell and Developmental Biology 
  • Supervisor for final year undergraduate laboratory projects
  • Personal Mentor for MBChB students

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Poulter currently supervises 3 PhD students who are working on various aspects of the use of dSTORM super resolution microscopy to investigate platelet signalling.

Dr Poulter currently has openings for self-funded PhD students in the area of:

  • Investigating platelet surface receptor signalling using advanced microscopy.

If you are interested in studying in this area, please contact Dr Poulter on the contact details above, or for any general doctoral research enquiries, please email: dr@contacts.bham.ac.uk or call +44(0)121 414 5005.


Natalie’s main research interest is how the spatial organisation of receptors on the platelet surface relates to platelet signalling and activation, particularly in spread platelets.

Her current work is related to (hem)ITAM receptors but this is being extended into non-ITAM related receptors. This work uses super resolution microscopy (particularly dSTORM) to look quantitatively at receptor clustering under different conditions (e.g. spreading on different ligands or in the presence/absence of secondary mediators), localising other signalling molecules within the spread platelet and investigating the downstream signalling pathways via biochemical approaches. The main goal is to understand how the extent of receptor clustering can influence platelet activation and whether interfering with this clustering presents a novel target for anti-platelet therapies in the future.

Her other research interest is how the platelet actin cytoskeleton, in particular a structure called the actin nodule, is involved in platelet adhesion and spreading.

Other activities

  • Reviewer for Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis and PLoS One
  • Co-organiser of the internal ICVS seminar series
  • Member of The Biochemical Society
  • Member of British Society for Cell Biology 


Poulter NS, Pollitt AY, Davies A, Malinova D, Nash GB, Hannon MJ, Pikramenou Z, Rappoport JZ, Hartwig JH, Owen DM, Thrasher AJ, Watson SP and Thomas SG (2015) Platelet actin nodules are podosome-like structures dependent on Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome protein and Arp2/3 complexNature Communications 6: 7254

Poulter NS, Thomas SG (2015) Cytoskeletal regulation of platelet formation: Coordination of F-actin and microtubules. International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology 23;66:69-74

Wilkins KA, Bosch M, Haque T, Teng N, Poulter NS, Franklin-Tong VE (2015) Self-Incompatibility-induced Programmed Cell Death in Papaver pollen involves dramatic acidification of the incompatible pollen tube cytosol. Plant Physiology 167(3),766-79

Poulter NS, Pitkeathly WTE, Smith PJ, Rappoport JZ (2015). The physical basis of total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy and its cellular applications. Methods in Molecular Biology 1251, 1-23

Pollitt AY, Poulter NS, Gitz E, Navarro-Nuñez L, Wang YJ, Hughes CE, Thomas SG, Douglas MR, Jackson DG, Dustin ML, Watson SP (2014). CLEC-2 signalling regulates clustering of Podoplanin and platelet adhesion to lymphatic endothelial cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry 289(52), 35695-710

Wilson E, Leszczynska K, Poulter NS, Edelmann F, Salisbury VA, Noy PJ, Bacon A, Rappoport JZ, Heath JK, Bicknell R, Heath VL (2014) RhoJ interacts with the GIT-PIX complex and regulates focal adhesion disassemblyJournal of Cell Science 127(14), 3039-51

Wilkins KA, Poulter NS, Franklin-Tong VE (2014) Taking one for the team: self-recognition and cell suicide in pollen. Journal of Experimental Botany 65, 1331-42

Mutch LJ, Howden JD, Jenner EPL, Poulter NS, Rappoport JZ (2014) Polarised Clathrin-Mediated Endocytosis of EGFR During Chemotactic Invasion. Traffic 15, 648–64

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