Targeting Platelet Adhesion Receptors in Thrombosi(TAPAS) is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) European Joint Doctorate (EJD). TAPAS is a consortium of 7 European countries, led by the University of Birmingham, along with 7 beneficiaries and 6 partners from the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Croatia and Hungary.

TAPAS will train a uniquely-qualified cohort of 15 Early Stage Reserachers (ESRs) in a highly intersectoral and multi-disciplinary programme of work which will tackle the problem of thrombosis (blood clots) which can lead to heart attack and stroke and contributes to an estimated 40% of cardiovascular deaths in the EU, and over €200 billion a year to the EU economy. Current therapy in the prevention of arterial thrombotic events includes drugs that suppress the function of a specialised blood cell called a platelet. Platelets are necessary for preventing bleeding, but their unregulated or inappropriate activation can lead to thrombosis. Whilst suppressing platelet function is effective in a large proportion of patients, it is not perfect and some patients experience further thrombotic episodes, bleeding problems or even death. The research that the TAPAS ESRs will undertake, will combine innovative approaches and develop new expertise to identify, understand and test new targets on blood platelets for the selective prevention and treatment of thrombotic diseases.

TAPAS will seek to determine:

  • The molecular basis of platelet activation by the receptors GPVI and CLEC-2 and the role of ITAM receptors in haemostasis, thrombosis and vascular integrity.

ESRs will generate and integrate knowledge from analytical complex ‘omics’, advanced microscopy, cell biology, microfluidics, in vivo models, contemporary systems biology and high throughput screens to identify new targets for therapeutic intervention and novel lead compounds or biologics.

Together the ESRs will form an inter- and multidisciplinary research team to address the goals of TAPAS.

PhD degrees will be issued jointly by two University partners for each ESR, this will require the ESR to split their time between institutions and be mobile across the network.  As part of the ITN network, ESRs will have access to the various training activities organized by the network and to secondments at partner institutions.

TAPAS is coordinated by the University of Birmingham with Steve Watson as Lead and Natalie Poulter as Deputy.