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What are the components that flow through our vessels? What causes the risk of cardiovascular disease? Why is snake venom so dangerous when it gets into our blood? Our speakers will look at some of these questions, talking about this complex system and how it comes under attack from ‘villains’. We will see how all the components work together to save the day.
Snakebite: A vascular journey of destruction?
Harry Fonseca Williams (PhD researcher in snakebite pharmacology and venom biochemistry)
Snakebite is a surprisingly common, and unusually brutal affliction. The epidemiology is staggering and after addressing just how widespread and worrying snakebite is, Harry will talk about the basics of venom biochemistry, and the various effects of venom components on the human body. Harry will introduce the research his lab has undertaken on the effect of venom on blood and skeletal muscles before the future of treatments and benefits of venoms for humanity are discussed.
Blood cells that stop you bleeding behave badly - Can we turn them back from the dark side?
Professor Jon Gibbins (Professor of Cell Biology, Director of Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research)
A long time ago, in a blood vessel far away...platelets were invented to protect us from bleeding. In defective and diseased blood vessels however, they trigger unwanted clotting (thrombosis) that causes heart attacks and strokes. Jon will introduce his work to understand exactly how these cells work, why they go wrong in disease, and what could be done to prevent this. There are problems however. If we prevent thrombosis we risk causing bleeding. Jon argues it may be possible to turn platelets back from the dark side to prevent disease, we just need to understand the forces that control them.