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Flow cytometry team

Michelle Wilson, north campus

Michelle Wilson thumbnail

Michelle is the Flow Cytometry Technical Manager. She works with colleague Oliver Eltherington to deliver flow cytometry services across the Dunedin campus.

“I started using flow cytometry for my immunology research work in the Microbiology Department 20+ years ago. We had one analysis flow cytometer which had just two lasers and four channels. We have come a long way since then!

“I really enjoy helping people with panel and experimental design and researching their specific flow cytometry application. I also enjoy investigating and troubleshooting instrument issues.

“When the Microbiology Department bought a flow cytometric cell sorter many years ago I was asked to run all FACS sorts for the University and my career specialising in flow cytometry began from there.

“In 2021 we purchased a 4 laser Cytek Aurora flow cytometer which uses exciting new full spectrum technology and spectral unmixing allowing greater flexibility with fluorophore choice and the ability to look at up to 30 different parameters on a single cell. Flow cytometry has become much more complex with the addition of more lasers and many more fluorescent parameters making good panel design and experimental optimization imperative.

“Before you start  to get advice from the flow cytometry team, experienced users and experts from flow cytometry companies. Quality of your flow cytometry data depends on proper panel and experimental design!”

Michelle is a member of the Australasian Cytometry Society.

Tel +64 3 479 5876 (office)
Tel +64 3 479 7711 (research lab)
Tel +64 3 479 4754 (flow suite)
Email michelle.wilson@otago.ac.nz (north campus)

Oliver Eltherington, south campus

Oliver Eltherington thumb"My master’s and subsequent first job were exceptionally flow orientated. I first developed biomarker panels for use on the Canto II in a phase 1 clinical trial. Since then, I have worked on multiple immune cell related projects and trials in a translational medicine laboratory. To me this technique is the most powerful and versatile tool available in biological and medical science. Flow cytometry is used in marine science, nanoparticle research, hospitals, biological research and medical research. It can be used to look at RNA expression, protein expression, protein quantification, immune cell activation, cell phenotyping (deep and shallow), bioluminescence, viability, proliferation, etc. at the single cell level and the population level."

I love the challenge of getting panels to work and I really enjoy troubleshooting and understanding the biology of the antigen.

"I have a little ripped-off saying: failure to titrate is titrating to fail. It takes time but it makes your panel much more likely to work, look real, reduce artificial spread and will immediately save you some money. Other than that, I can just reiterate what others say. Compensate every experiment, the more controls the better and design your panel with the help of experienced users. There are no bad colours, only bad panel design."

Oliver is a member of the International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry.

User Group

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.