Associate Professor Elizabeth Gardiner, Deputy Head, ACRF Department of Cancer Biology and Therapeutics and Leader, The Gardiner Group - Mechanisms of Thrombosis andCancer, JCSMR, ANU
Platelets are the blood components that guard and protect blood volume. They orchestrate haemostasis. Every day, we make billions of platelets in our bone marrow, which are built to respond instantly to any type of blood vessel injury or to infection. Understanding how a platelet plug (thrombus) forms underpins all the key ‘blood thinning’ pharmaceuticals beginning with aspirin and warfarin right through to the new oral anticoagulants in use today. Information taken from studies of snake venoms, leeches and bat saliva has helped in the design of anticoagulant therapeutics and has been indispensable to our understanding of how the balance between clotting and bleeding (haemostasis) is maintained.