Along with its revival, the continuation of Ryan’s blog will be getting a bit of a makeover!
The biggest change is that the main contributor of this blog will be me – Laura Johnston, Associate Scientific Director of the University of Chicago Cytometry and Antibody Technology Facility. And because I identify as a researcher – an immunologist – much more than a cytometrist, I plan on blogging about flow cytometry from an immunologist’s perspective. In short: less cytometer reviews, more tips for improving your experiments.
What is your scientific background?
I started using flow cytometry back when I was a technician at the University of Washington. I ran 6-color panels on mouse lung homogenate on a BD FACSCanto II and I’m pretty sure Pacific Blue was the hot new fluorophore of the time. Then I went to grad school at Northwestern University for my PhD. Somehow I ended up becoming the flow expert in our lab after running many, many flow experiments (mostly late at night as grad students do) on various mouse tissues to investigate a wide variety of cell types. I’m not entirely sure how I ended up doing so many projects, but my work included eosinophil development in bone marrow, phenotyping a GFP mouse, and innate cells in acute lung injury and asthma models. After earning my PhD, I landed this job in the UChicago flow core which combines all of my favorite parts of science! As Associate Scientific Director, I oversee all of our CyTOF projects to help our users be as successful and efficient as possible. I also provide scientific assistance with our spectral cytometer and conventional cytometers, from panel design and troubleshooting to analysis. In some cases, I can also function as a “post-doc for hire” and process, run, and analyze all samples.
On this blog I will share my knowledge and opinions of flow cytometry for the purpose of improving a researcher’s ability to perform a flow cytometry experiment. My philosophy on experiments is that they should be done correctly, but in the most efficient way possible. When I was in the lab I was always trying to get the most out of my experiments – looking at multiple tissues with multiple flow panels along with a bunch of other readouts. But I’m also a planner and a bit of a perfectionist, which means all of my antibodies were titrated, panels were most likely tested before the big experiment, and protocols were optimized. So you will likely see in my posts that I am meticulous about flow cytometry experiments, but I’ll gladly take a shortcut whenever it’s reasonable.
Until next time,