What’s most important for Cancer Center members to know about the Flow Cytometry shared resource?
We are a resource for them, their staff and students. We offer free project consultations, panel design, optimization and validation help, experimental troubleshooting assistance, and training programs. The Flow core can train their staff and students to be completely independent and become a “self-service user,” which gives them access to the instruments in the core 24/7.
We pride ourselves on providing clean, operational, highly maintained and calibrated instruments. This eliminates our users spending time on troubleshooting instrument failures and provides reproducibility in instrument performance from run to run. We have extensive experience in all aspects of Cytometry from small particle analysis to Immunophenotyping, Phospoflow, intracellular Flow, Apoptosis, Cell cycle analysis and much much more.
We want the Cancer Center membership to come use our diverse collection of high-end instruments, at cost-effective rates. We have basic systems up to 28 color HTS plate based instruments and Spectral Cytometers for them to be trained on. We also partner with members for SOP development and specialized analysis. We offer everything from training courses to staff-assisted cell sorting, to sample drop-off analysis.
We also offer Data analysis in Cytobank and Flowjo 10.7 for publications. As a director, I often do customized seminars for labs on Rigor and Reproducibility in Flow Cytometry to make sure everyone is running their experiments to meet the new International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry and NIH guidelines in this area.
What services does Flow Cytometry offer and why should our members utilize them?
We offer staff-assisted cell sorting, imaging and analysis, Flow sample drop-off analysis, user self-service training and certification on instrumentation, training courses in Flow for best practices, sorter operator training and a new high parameter panel design “boot camp” course. We also do all the upstream specialized sorting for RNAseq and isolation of single cell for gene expression analysis in our Gene Expression and NGS cores.
We offer completely free project consultations and always are available by appointment to help anyone with their Flow Cytometry experiments. The membership should utilize the CYT-SR because we offer lots of high-end, top-of-the-line instruments at an hourly rate that is more cost-effective than owning your own high-end cytometer.
We are a value to the UFHCC membership because of our staff expertise in a large variety of Cytometry samples, applications and breath of assays we can help you run.
What kind of training do you offer?
We offer both targeted self-service training on instruments — and two training courses on the basics of Cytometry. The Flow Short Course I/II is a course that is like a Flow “boot camp”; we cover everything from instrument operations to proper controls, Flow panel design and assay optimization, compensation, best practices in how to acquire data, and much more. There are two hands-on labs for this course, a 3.5-hour lecture and a Dropbox full of materials for each student.
We also offer an Aria Sort Operator training course that teaches the principles of proper sorting that includes 2.5 full days of hands-on practice on the Aria instrument. Once trained, users can book this system and run it themselves 24/7.
We will be launching a new workshop on high parameter panel design and optimization this coming fall so keep your eyes open for that!
What are some examples of cancer-related, Flow Cytometry-assisted research at UF?
We work closely with many Cancer Center researchers. For example, we sort fast and slow-metabolizing glioblastoma cells for Dr. Loic Deleyrolle. We have helped to optimize a novel method for sorting mouse bone marrow for Dr. Olga Guryanova. The cutting-edge Sony Spectral Instrument, acquired through UFHCC funding, was pivotal in moving Dr. Guryanova’s research forward.
I was part of a novel experiment and publication with Dr. Jatinder Lambda’s team aimed at understanding the effects CD33 cell surface receptor on chemotherapy effectiveness. We also developed a novel method with Dr. Rowan Milner and his team in the UF College of Veterinary Medicine to optimize the conditions for collecting cells in an RNase-free environment.
We are currently partnering with Dr. Elias Sayour and Dr. Duane Mitchell using Flow Cytometry to monitor the immune response in a first-in-human RNA vaccine trial for brain cancer. We also working with Dr. Dietmar Siemann to help understand the role of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in breast cancer.
These are just a few examples of the cytometry technology and expertise we provide to UFHCC members. We often partner with the Cancer Center to acquire new instruments and platforms that will move their research forward — and are always happy to help with anything the membership is working on.
On a personal note, what do you enjoy about your role as director of Flow Cytometry?
I love my role as Flow core director. I’m basically able to be a “field application scientist” like when I was in biotech, working on a lot of diverse projects with people — with the added benefit of not having to live out of a suitcase! I am a people-person and really enjoy getting to know the researchers and their teams and partnering with them on their projects. The best part of my job is the education part, teaching new users about the technology and how it can help with their research projects.
I also love the application development and panel design side of this role; I get to help develop new techniques, such as our novel methods for analyzing exosomes using flow cytometry. Sometimes it “takes a village” to move the science forward and we are honored to be a part of this process.
As for my team, I think they are amazing! Each have very different backgrounds and levels of expertise but we are always moving forward, taking new courses and learning new assays to build our repertoire of expertise. I feel privileged to lead such a great, smart team and they teach me new things every day!