Dr Natalie Poulter

Dr Natalie Poulter

Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences
Research Fellow
ICVS Post Graduate Research Lead

Contact details

Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
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 (FRS) at the University of Birmingham. Natalie’s postdoctoral research has seen her move from plants to mammalian cells where she has studied processes such as cell migration, endocytosis and cell signalling.

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.

In addition to research, Natalie has taken on roles to promote ‘Team Science’ within the department and further afield. She was the UoB Team Science Lead for COMPARE from 2017-2021 which promoted Team Science and collaboration between the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham. This initiative was recognised as an excellent example of a Team Science training initiative by the Academy of Medical Sciences in their 2019 report ‘From innovation to implementation: team science two years on’. Natalie is currently the Team Science Lead for the BHF Accelerator Award for Birmingham.

Natalie has also recently taken on the role of Post Graduate Research (PGR) Lead for ICVS.


Postgraduate supervision

Natalie is the Deputy Coordinator for the TAPAS European Commission Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) European Joint Doctorate. 

Natalie currently supervises PhD students funded by the EU (TAPAS), COMPARE and the BHF all working on different aspects of platelet activation and signalling.

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

  • Investigating platelet activation and surface receptor signalling using biochemical techniques and advanced microscopy

If you are interesting in studying any of these subject areas please contact Natalie directly, or email the College Graduate School for any general doctoral research enquiries.

For a full list of available Doctoral Research opportunities, please visit our Doctoral Research programme listings


Natalie’s main research interest is how the spatial organisation of receptors on the platelet surface relates to platelet signalling and activation, in single platelets as well as those in the more complex structure of the thrombus. The aim of this research is to understand how platelets become activated and how this process can be modulated to control thrombus formation.

One area of her current work is related to (hem)ITAM receptors, particularly the collagen/fibrin(ogen) receptor GPVI, but this is being extended to non-ITAM receptors such as the GPIb-IX-V complex. 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 or inhibitors), localising other signalling molecules within the platelet, investigating receptor shedding and interrogating 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.

Other interests include investigating the effect of rare genetic variants of the GPIb receptor complex on platelet function and also the role of the cytoskeleton and associated proteins in platelet adhesion, spreading and thrombus formation.

Research Centres and Groups

Other activities


Recent publications


Jooss, N & Poulter, N 2021, 'A large-scale histological investigation gives insight into the structure of ischemic stroke thrombi', Platelets. https://doi.org/10.1080/09537104.2020.1869713

Clark, J, Neagoe, RAI, Zuidscherwoude, M, Kavanagh, D, Slater, A, Martin, E, Soave, M, Stegner, D, Nieswandt, B, Poulter, N, Hummert, J, Herten, D-P, Tomlinson, M, Hill, SJ & Watson, S 2021, 'Evidence that GPVI is expressed as a mixture of monomers and dimers, and that the D2 domain is not essential for GPVI activation: GPVI dimerisation is not critical for ligand binding', Thrombosis and Haemostasis, vol. 2021, no. 00, pp. 1-26. https://doi.org/10.1055/a-1401-5014

Pallini, C, Pike, J, O'Shea, C, Andrews, R, Gardiner, EE, Watson, S & Poulter, N 2021, 'Immobilised collagen prevents shedding and induces sustained GPVI clustering and signalling in platelets', Platelets, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 59-73. https://doi.org/10.1080/09537104.2020.1849607

Nicolson, P, Nock, SH, Hinds, J, Garcia Quintanilla, L, Smith, C, Campos, J, Brill, A, Pike, J, Khan, A, Poulter, N, Kavanagh, D, Watson, S, Watson, CN, Clifford, H, Huissoon, A, Pollitt, A, Eble, JA, Pratt, D, Watson, S & Hughes, C 2021, 'Low-dose Btk inhibitors selectively block platelet activation by CLEC-2', Haematologica, vol. 106, no. 1, pp. 208-219. https://doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2019.218545

Slater, A, Di, Y, Clark, J, Jooss, N, Martin, E, Alenazy, F, Thomas, MR, Ariëns, RAS, Herr, AB, Poulter, N, Emsley, J & Watson, S 2021, 'Structural characterisation of a novel GPVI nanobody-complex reveals a biologically active domain-swapped GPVI dimer', Blood, vol. 2021, no. 00, pp. 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1182/blood.2020009440

Pike, J, Simms, V, Smith, C, Morgan, N, Khan, A, Poulter, N, Styles, I & Thomas, S 2020, 'An adaptable analysis workflow for characterization of platelet spreading and morphology', Platelets. https://doi.org/10.1080/09537104.2020.1748588 Abstract

Yule, J, Morgan, N & Poulter, N 2020, 'New insights into Glycoprotein Ibα desialylation-mediated platelet clearance', Platelets, vol. 31, no. 5, pp. 621-623. https://doi.org/10.1080/09537104.2020.1764922

Koo, CZ, Harrison, N, Noy, PJ, Szyroka, J, Matthews, AL, Hsia, H-E, Müller, SA, Tüshaus, J, Goulding, J, Willis, K, Apicella, C, Cragoe, B, Davis, E, Keles, M, Malinova, A, McFarlane, TA, Morrison, PR, Nguyen, HTH, Sykes, MC, Ahmed, H, Di Maio, A, Seipold, L, Saftig, P, Cull, E, Pliotas, C, Rubinstein, E, Poulter, NS, Briddon, SJ, Holliday, ND, Lichtenthaler, SF & Tomlinson, MG 2020, 'The tetraspanin Tspan15 is an essential subunit of an ADAM10 scissor complex', The Journal of biological chemistry, vol. 295, no. 36, pp. 12822-12839. https://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.RA120.012601

Pike, J, Khan, A, Pallini, C, Thomas, S, Mund, M, Ries, J, Poulter, N & Styles, I 2020, 'Topological data analysis quantifies biological nano-structure from single molecule localization microscopy', Bioinformatics, vol. 36, no. 5, pp. 1614–1621. https://doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btz788

Clark, J, Kavanagh, D, Watson, S, Pike, J, Andrews, R, Gardiner, EE, Poulter, N, Hill, SJ & Watson, S 2019, 'Adenosine and forskolin inhibit platelet aggregation by collagen but not the proximal signalling events', Thrombosis and Haemostasis, vol. 119, no. 07, pp. 1124-1137. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0039-1688788

Onselaer, M-B, Nagy, M, Pallini, C, Pike, JA, Perrella, G, Quintanilla, LG, Eble, JA, Poulter, NS, Heemskerk, JWM & Watson, SP 2019, 'Comparison of the GPVI inhibitors losartan and honokiol', Platelets, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 187–197 . https://doi.org/10.1080/09537104.2019.1585526

Dunster, JL, Unsworth, A, Bye, AP, Haining, E, Sowa, MA, Di, Y, Sage, T, Pallini, C, Pike, J, Hardy, A, Nieswandt, B, García, A, Watson, S, Poulter, N, Gibbins, JM & Pollitt, AY 2019, 'Interspecies differences in protein expression do not impact the spatiotemporal regulation of glycoprotein VI mediated activation', Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis. https://doi.org/10.1111/jth.14673

Khan, A, White, CW, Pike, J, Yule, J, Slater, A, Hill, SJ, Poulter, N, Thomas, S & Morgan, N 2019, 'Optimised insert design for improved single-molecule imaging and quantification through CRISPR-Cas9 mediated knock-in', Scientific Reports, vol. 9, no. 1, 14219. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-50733-9


Haining, EJ, Nicolson, PLR, Onselaer, MB, Poulter, NS, Rayes, J, Thomas, MR & Watson, SP 2019, GPVI and CLEC-2. in Platelets. Elsevier Masson, pp. 213-226. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-813456-6.00011-4

Poulter, N, Khan, A, Pallini, C & Thomas, S 2018, Single molecule localisation and structured illumination microscopy of platelet proteins. in Platelets and megakaryocytes: volume 4, advanced protocols and perspectives. vol. 4, Methods in Molecular Biology, vol. 1812, Humana Press. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-8585-2

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