3:27 p.m., March 22, 2011----That cut on your finger surely hurt, but when it happened, tiny, disk-shaped cells called platelets circulating in your blood started clumping together.
Clot formation is a lifesaver in some situations, and a potential killer in others when blood flow to the heart or brain is blocked.
“Together, heart attack and stroke represent the number-one killer of mankind,” says Ulhas Naik, an expert on blood clotting at the University of Delaware.
Naik, director of the Delaware Cardiovascular Research Center at UD, will present “Novel Regulators of Integrin Signaling in Platelets” at the Gordon Research Conference -- Cell Biology of Megakaryocytes and Platelets, on March 23 in Galveston, Texas.
He will discuss how two proteins he discovered -- calcium and integrin binding protein 1 (CIB1) and junctional adhesion molecule A (JAM-A) -- regulate the process of clot formation.
Named a fellow of the American Heart Association in 2010, Naik was the first to clone and characterize the two proteins, and later showed that CIB1 is critical for the process of platelet clumping and hence blood clot formation, and that JAM-A functions to protect against platelet clumping.
The conference, a premier meeting attended by international researchers, focuses on the field of megakaryocytes, a type of cell found in bone marrow, and platelets, which are formed from the megakaryocytes. Naik also was invited to give a talk at the previous Gordon Research Conference on the topic, held two years ago.