Centre for Atherothrombotic and Metabolic Disease

The Centre for Atherothrombosis and Metabolic Disease (CAM) has a mission to generate new knowledge and understanding of the biochemical, molecular and cellular mechanisms that contribute to the development of thrombosis and metabolic diseases, and translate these in findings into clinical benefits. Our researchers have a variety of interests that can be grouped into two major interrelated areas:

Haemostasis and thrombosis
Arterial thrombosis plays a key role in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases like stroke and myocardial infarction. Research projects in this area are focused on the regulation of platelet function and their contribution to thrombosis and a number of inflammatory and infectious states.

Metabolic components of disease
Metabolism has assumed a new level of significance with the acceptance that metabolic function pervades every aspect of physiology at a cellular, organ and whole-body level. Our research in this area seeks to discover how metabolic modifications in response to health, disease and lifestyle translate into phenotype in ways that predispose or lead directly to non-communicable diseases.

Our work focuses on chronic conditions including atherothrombosis, metabolic syndrome, infertility, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, cough and airways inflammation, which cause a significant health and financial burden in terms of premature death, lost productivity, hospital treatment and prescriptions.

We have strong links with clinical colleagues working within the NHS as well as with members of the University of Hull School of Life Sciences.

Doctoral and Masters Research Students

Research projects within the Centre for Atherothrombosis and Metabolic Disease focus on a wide range of areas, including:
  • Platelet cyclic nucleotide signaling
  • Animal models of haemostasis and thrombosis
  • Uraemia and platelet dysfunction
  • Inherited and acquired platelet disorders
  • Effect of novel chemotherapeutic agents on platelet function
  • Biology and etiology of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
  • Novel treatment approaches for haematological malignancies
  • Platelet thrombotic and immune responses to bloodstream pathogens, and underlying molecular mechanisms
  • Bacteria associated with cardiovascular pathology (infective endocarditis, sepsis) and malaria-causing Plasmodium falciparum parasites
  • Understanding the mechanisms by which the actin cytoskeleton of both the platelet and megakaryocyte is modulated, and the effect this can have on platelet/megakaryocyte adhesion, spreading and migration, proplatelet formation and thrombus formation
  • Biology of early mammalian embryos and their environment in the fallopian tube and uterus; use of non-invasive metabolic profiling to identify embryos with maximum developmental potential; implications for the safety and efficacy of techniques for human assisted conception and the health of offspring in later life
  • Skeletal muscle plasticity in response to differing patho/physiological stimuli (e.g. nutritional interventions, damage/injury and exercise)
  • The role of nuclear hormone receptors in regulation of mitochondrial metabolism and skeletal muscle fibre growth, maintenance and regeneration in skeletal myopathies
  • The role of the cytoskeleton and their regulatory signalling pathways in platelet function using genetic models and biochemical and cell biology approaches
  • Platelets as targets of bacterial virulence factors that disrupt signalling to the actin cytoskeleton
  • Post-translational modifications as targets for antiplatelet therapies
  • Mechanisms of activation and regulation of ion channels (specifically the temperature sensitive Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) cation channels and the purinergic receptor, P2X3) and role in cough and airways inflammation
  • Development of channel chemical modulators
  • Effect of the human rhinovirus on the airways and postviral cough
  • In vitro models of the airways
  • The effect of environmental contaminants on human airways
  • Biochemistry and metabolism of mammalian gametes and early embryos (in collaboration with the Hull In Vitro Fertilisation Unit)
  • Impact of maternal health on female tract environment; metabolic and developmental programming of adult disease
  • Metabolic regulation of blood platelets in health and disease
  • The role of novel calcium channels in human disease, especially calcium-permeable ion channels (TRPC and store-operated channels ORAI/STIM) in the development of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes

The Centre for Atherothrombosis and Metabolic Disease offers undergraduate projects and postgraduate projects at both masters and PhD level in the areas of cardiovascular and metabolic research. In addition to specific skills developed during a research project, we ensure that a range of cross-disciplinary skills are developed through a postgraduate training scheme. You can find out more about postgraduate study opportunities on the Hull York Medical School website.  

Members of the centre are actively involved in teaching the students of Hull York Medical School on the MB BS undergraduate medicine and Physician Associate Studies programmes, leading five blocks of study within Phase I and continually developing the curriculum to ensure it is both relevant and provides the best student experience. In addition to this, the centre also provide the Scholarship and Special Interest Programme 'Current Topics in Molecular Medicine'. The programme offers a series of lectures, practical work, and specific individual short courses to Phase I medical students, in order to broaden their educational experience.

The centre is home to the current Chair of the Postgraduate Programmes Board and Hull Graduate Research Director, Dr Roger Sturmey.

Haemostasis is the term given to the processes that cause the clotting of blood after damage to blood vessels. It is controlled by several inter-related factors including structural elements of the blood vessel wall, proteins circulating in the blood, and blood platelets. In some individuals, defective haemostasis leads to life-threatening bleeding, and is often caused by either platelet abnormalities or reduction in platelet number (thrombocytopenia). Common diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity are associated with unregulated platelet activity leading to arterial thrombosis. The group's two major areas of interest are:
  • Understanding the process of platelet formation from megakaryocytes in health and disease
  • Determining new biochemical and molecular mechanisms that regulate platelet function

Research in this area is performed by an integrated team of post-doctoral scientists, PhD and MD students, who utilise multidisciplinary approaches to identify new mechanisms regulating platelet and megakaryocyte function.

Funded by: British Heart Foundation, Heart Research UK, BBSRC
Group members: Dr Ahmed Aburima, Dr David Allsup, Dr Monica Arman, Dr Simon Calaminus, Dr Francisco Rivero