Albert Sickmann

Albert Sickmann

Talk Title: Proteomics as diagnostic tool for platelet function


After his PhD at the University of Bochum (Germany) Albert Sickmann became group leader at the DFG research center for experimental biomedicine (Rudolf-Virchow-Center) at the University of Würzburg, Germany. In 2008 he was granted the Analytica Research Award and later the year appointed as Director of the Bioanalytics department of the Leibniz institute for analytical sciences in Dortmund, Germany.
Within his research program he is trying to understand the integration of highly complex signaling and metabolic pathways in cells and cell layers from human origin at different levels, including metabolites, lipids and proteins involved in intercellular communication processes.
Our research aims to provide a knowledge and technology based advancement of analytical science towards the tailoring of medical treatment to the individual characteristics of each patient.
To this end, we develop precision tools for an evidence based diagnosis, measuring disease progression and the selection and monitoring of individualized treatments. We hope that these technologies can be used to help diagnose a variety of illnesses more easily – such as cardiovascular diseases – and perhaps improve therapies.


More than 130 years ago, it was recognized that platelets are key mediators of thrombosis and hemostasis. Nowadays, it is established that platelets participate in additional physiological processes and contribute to the genesis and progression of cardiovascular diseases. Anti-platelet treatment is of fundamental importance in combatting functions/dysfunction of platelets in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases. Owing to their anucleate nature platelets have only limited de novo protein synthesis and (dys)function of platelets is likely to be completely attributable to alterations in protein expression patterns and post-translational modifications. Consequently, platelet proteomics will represent an invaluable tool for characterizing the fundamental processes that affect platelet homeostasis and thus determine the roles of platelets in health and disease.
Combining elaborate protocols for platelet isolation from fresh blood donations in conjunction with quantitative mass spectrometry, our recent data indicate that the platelet proteome, representing the complete set of expressed proteins, comprises approximately 5,000 proteins and is remarkably stable between different healthy individuals. The protein composition and the phosphorylation patterns of platelets will be useful to understand certain activation/inhibition states and therapeutic interventions. In particular, quantitative phosphoproteomic studies will pave the way for a refined understanding of platelet properties. The detection of candidate proteins from different pathways in clinical samples as biomarker for platelet activity is further refined with the objective to achieve DIN ISO 17025 accreditation.