Prof Dianne Van Der Wal
Australian Red Cross Blood Service
Prof Dianne Van Der Wal is Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. She is interested in platelet signalling and her current project focuses on the platelet responses of apheresis platelet donors.
During her PhD (Utrecht University, the Netherlands), she demonstrated that novel death pathways were triggered in cold-stored platelets as a result of molecular changes in one of the platelet adhesion receptors. Some patients suffering from bleeding disorder Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) are unresponsive to current treatments. In her postdoc in Toronto, Canada, she showed that certain antibodies induced removal of sialic acid leading to platelet clearance by liver macrophages. Therefore, desialylation-inhibitors could possibly be used as a novel drug for ITP. The ISTH-EHA Training Fellowship supported her as she trained at the UCD Conway Institute (July - September 2019). ISTH member and Institute for Discovery Director Prof Patricia Maguire supervised Prof Van der Wal as she expanded her research into extracellular vesicles. “I am most excited about joining forces and coming up with new out-of-the-box research ideas and potentially foster and rekindle other European collaborations with scientists in the field,” said Prof van der Wal. “Moreover, this fellowship will expand my research at the Australian Red Cross Blood Service as well as helping me to grow further as a senior scientist.”