San Diego has a wonderful flow cytometry users group that meets every couple of months to discuss new research that incorporates flow cytometry technology. The meetings dwindled for a period of time, but Cheryl Kim, the director of flow cytometry at the La Jolla Institute of Allergy and Immunology, and Carina Torres, the flow core director at Eli Lilly have taken the effort to reinstate a regular meeting schedule for the past year. They have had some great discussion sessions at both the La Jolla Institute of Allergy and Immunology and the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. The community is growing and we hope to see it continue.
On Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013 there were two great speakers that gave engaging talks. The first speaker was Dr. Andrea Snead. Her talk was titled, “Tolerating Dad: The role of regulatory T cells in healthy pregnancy and pre-eclampsia.” She gave a detailed overview of the role of immune response during maternal – fetal interaction in many different species. Maternal immune response is suppressed such that the mother’s immune response doesn’t kill the fetus. A major question in the field is to understand the mechanism that is suppressing the maternal immune response. A key hypothesis has been that regulatory T cells are mediating this event. Dr. Snead examined immune responding cells and demonstrated there were differential populations of regulatory T cells present in women with healthy pregnancy compared to women pre-eclampsia during pregnancy. She used a sophisticated multi-colored flow cytometry panel to generate this data. In addition, blood samples from patients with pre-eclampsia showed an increased immune response to the fetal cells, whereas blood from healthy pregnant women did not. It was a very interesting talk that provided a review of a topic many people didn’t know about and showed current research being done to help save lives.
The second speaker was Jolene Bradford from Life Tech. She shared anecdotes about the background of where Life Tech came from and how they got to be where they are. I loved hearing that a giant company like Life Tech started in someone’s garage! During her scientific presentation, she introduced us to new products that Life Tech is offering for research using flow cytometry. These include improved new ROS (reactive oxygen species) dyes that are fixation compatible as well as some new ways to monitor apoptosis. She also presented advances in conjugation techniques using Click chemistry. Click conjugations are driven by copper catalysis; however the copper is impeded by technical issues in biochemical reactions. Life Tech has found ways to ameliorate the issues and is offering new copper safe kits.
This was a great opportunity for scientists in the flow cytometry community to get together and catch up. This is a very small, tight knit community that has a lot of history together and many more years ahead. Thanks to Cheryl and Carina, we now have a venue where we can share our ideas, troubles, and breakthroughs.