27 November 2013
There is an incredible air of excitement at the Malaghan Institute this week as the 2013 Australasian Flow Cytometry Group and Australasian Society for Immunology conferences draw closer. Not only will our scientists have the opportunity to learn from international experts in immunology and flow cytometry, they will also get to trial some of this newfound knowledge on our revamped cell sorter - thanks to the genius of US laser expert Dr William Telford.
Flow cytometry is a powerful analytical tool that we use at the Malaghan Institute to study immune cells. The technology is fundamental to the development of vaccines and immune-based therapies for the treatment of disease and therefore underpins all our research programmes.
For the past decade the Malaghan Institute has devoted considerable energy into establishing a state-of-the-art flow cytometry facility, providing access to technology unavailable elsewhere in this country. With Dr Telford's expertise at hand, we are about to witness even greater advancements in what we will be able to do with flow cytometry at the Malaghan Institute.
Dr Telford heads the Flow Cytometry Core Laboratory at the Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch of the National Cancer Institute, at the National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, USA - the world's largest biomedical research facility.
Later this month Dr Telford will be in Wellington to present at the 2013 Australasian Flow Cytometry Group conference. While here, Dr Telford has offered to spend his 'spare' nights installing a new laser on our FACSVantage DiVa cell sorter.
Lasers are Dr Telford's specialty and in my opinion he is the flow cytometrist most responsible for the advent of multicolour flow cytometry in many laboratories around the world, says Kylie Price, Hugh Green Flow Cytometry Fellow and Head of the Malaghan Institute's Cell Technology Suite.
Any new laser line [colour] tends to have been tested by Dr Telford or at the very least promoted by him, to the point where many labs around the world now have amazing laser configurations based on his advice, feedback and support.
The laser Dr Telford has for us will be the only one of its kind on a cell sorter in New Zealand, says Ms Price. We upgraded one of our benchtop flow cytometers with the same type of laser earlier in the year. This enables us to analyse the new skin ILC2 immune cells discovered by Professor Graham Le Gros and his colleagues at the Centenary Institute in Sydney, which may be the earliest cells to trigger an allergic immune response in the body.
With the same rare laser installed on our cell sorter, we will be able to purify the ILC2 cells away from all of the other cells in the body, and really begin to unravel how they actually work and whether we can use them to stop allergy in its tracks.
We are incredibly grateful to Dr Telford for taking time out from his visit to New Zealand to install this laser, and for his ongoing support of the Malaghan Institute's flow cytometry capabilities.
We would like to acknowledge the Hugh Green Foundation, the Maurice Wilkins Centre, Lottery Health Research, The Thompson Family Foundation Inc, Frank Millar & Co Wellington Ltd and The Estates of Ellen, Sinclair, Barbara and Alison Wallace, for supporting our flow cytometry laboratories. Earlier this year Kylie Price returned from a technology transfer sabbatical overseas, made possible in part by the generous support of the Roy & Joan Watson Trust and the Green family.