Michelle Wilson, north campus
Michelle is the flow cytometry technician. She works with colleague Katie Young to deliver flow cytometry services across the Dunedin campus.
"I started using flow cytometry for immunology research in the Microbiology Department about 20 years ago. We had a BD FACSCalibur flow cytometer which had just two lasers and four channels. We have come a long way since then!
"When the Microbiology Department bought a flow cytometric cell sorter many years ago I was asked to run all FACS sorts for the University. The Flow Cytometry Facility has recently purchased a new 4 laser, 16 channel sorter which Katie and I are learning to use over the next month or so. We can aseptically sort up to four populations simultaneously into tubes or sort single cells, or small numbers of cells into multi-well plates as well as sorting onto microscope slides.
My flow cytometry experience consists of 20 years of hands on immunological research work performing flow cytometry experiments such as phenotyping, proliferation, apoptosis assays, cytotoxicity assays, cell cycle analysis, intracellular staining and more.
"I have also had 14 years cell sorting experience. Over the years I have attended flow cytometry conferences in NZ and Australia as well as in-house training by flow cytometry consultants…but there is always more to learn!
"Flow cytometry has become much more complex with the addition of more lasers and channels so good panel design and optimisation is imperative. It is also important to ensure you have all the appropriate controls. It will save you time and money in the long run and ensures consistent results."
Katie Young, south campus
"I first used a flow cytometer back in 2008. It was a FACSCalibur analogue cytometer with four channels! I felt it took me a long while to truly understand the ins and outs of the whole process but I know I didn’t want to stop learning and understanding how it all worked.
My best advice for flow cytometry users is to spend time designing your panels with those who have experience and then taking the time to truly optimise your panels (for example, titrating your antibodies and using the right controls). This will ensure consistent results across all your experiments.
"Since that first introduction to flow cytometry I have seen the emergence of faster, larger capacity digital machines allowing panels of over 30 channels. There is now, also, the CyTOF and imaging cytometers which are changing things up again. With this increase in available channels, panel design has become more complex and a number of experimental controls have been introduced.
"I have had the opportunity to attend workshops in NZ and the USA designed to train users in a number of different aspects of cytometry, for example, panel design, sample preparation, intracellular staining techniques, cell cycle staining and analysis, cell proliferation and more. I have experience using both FlowJo and Kaluza to analyse the data that is generated and I am currently looking at FCS Express as well."
Email firstname.lastname@example.org (south campus)
Congratulations to Katie who won the 2018 Dunedin School of Medicine Departmental Award for Excellence in Research Support (Pathology).
The User Group consists of members that represent University of Otago departments that use the Flow Cytometry unit and advises the OMNI Academic Advisory Group on direction and strategy.
Visit About us for information about how our user groups work and how to make contact.