Dr Ghevaert is a senior Lecturer in Transfusion Medicine at the University of Cambridge and Consultant Haematologist for the NHS Blood and Transplant. He obtained his MD in 1998 from the University Libre de Bruxelles. After qualifying as a Consultant Haematologist, he did his PhD in Cambridge to develop recombinant antibodies for the treatment of fetomaternal alloimmune thrombocytopenia which culminated in a first-in-man study. Upon obtaining his PhD, Dr Ghevaert obtained a personal fellowship from the British Heart Foundation to work on megakaryopoiesis in the context of myeloproliferative diseases at the university of Birmingham. He was appointed as a Principal Investigator at the University of Cambridge in 2010. His current group focuses its work on the production of blood cells from pluripotent stem cells with the declared aim to produce novel cellular therapies for transfusion to patients. His approach combines the manipulation of key transcriptional regulators to efficiently forward programme stem cells into mature blood cells and 3D bioengineered scaffolds to recreate the bone marrow niche and increase the production efficiency and purity of the manufactured blood cells. He still has a keen interest in inherited platelet disorders (such as Thrombocytopenia with Absent Radii) using the pluripotent stem cell technology for disease modelling. His expertise lies at the hinge of basic bench-based science and translational studies and as such will be supervising a clinical trial of in vitro-produced red cells in human volunteers in 2018.
Dr Marloes Tijssen is a cell biologist with expertise in the transcriptional regulation of blood cell formation. She researches novel regulators of blood cell formation that can be exploited to make blood cells for transfusion. She worked as a NHS Blood & Transplant Group Leader in the Department of Haematology at the University of Cambridge. She is now working as a business and career coach, but has continued her research to raise investment to develop a drug for the treatment of Essential Thrombocythaemia.
Marloes finished her PhD studies at Sanquin Research (University of Amsterdam) on megakaryopoiesis in 2008 and then came to Cambridge where she obtained funding from the Dutch government and a Marie Curie Fellowship to work in the laboratory of Prof Gottgens on the transcriptional regulation of megakaryopoiesis. This led to the publication of the first functional annotation of the genome of primary megakaryocytes. This allowed her to identify novel regulators of blood formation and she was then awarded funding from the European Hematology Association and the British Heart Foundation to research these in her own lab. In 2016 she was awarded a five year NHS Blood and Transplant group leader award. In 2017 she published that one of the novel regulators, Tropomyosin-4, dose-dependently regulates platelet formation and she is now developing a drug targeting TPM4 for the treatment of Essential Thrombocythaemia.