The role of the NLRP inflammasome in platelet-driven vascular inflammation

FUNDING: 8 weeks (full time 35 hours per week, £12 per hour, consumables £800)
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LOCATION: Leeds Beckett University, UK

Dr. Matt Hindle, Biomedical Sciences Dept., Leeds

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Platelets are among the most numerous cells in the blood and are critical to efficient haemostasis and thrombosis, also playing an important role in inflammation. While several pathways have been identified in the platelet-inflammation axis, this study will focus on the NLRP3 inflammasome aiming to characterise the platelet-expressed NLRP3 inflammasome components that drive vascular inflammation. Specifically, these studies will concentrate on the components ASC and gasdermin D. The student will apply a range of molecular biology techniques including western immunoblot and PCR to perform initial characterisation. These techniques will be used to identify expression of these components within healthy human platelet samples. Following this, a fluorescent flow cytometry assay will provide a platform to assess if; a) all platelets express these proteins and b) examine translocation of these proteins within the cells when stimulated by a range of relevant platelet agonists. Ultimately this project will supply the student with the opportunity to develop their skills in a range of modern bioscience techniques while also having capacity to produce novel data. Students will be expected to present their findings orally at a research day in York in September 2024.