[Cytometry] TEACHING FLOW CYTOMETRY - BROAD EDUCATION

Randall W. Smith lymphocyte58 at hotmail.com
Sun May 8 11:11:26 EDT 2011


To Continue Howard's Thread, 
 
I would expand our cytometry education into science curriculum as early 
as possible, and not just biology and pre-med studuents, but kids interested
in chemistry and physics as well:
 
    There is good reason to keep instruments in repair and in use.  It is not
part of their business model, but I would keep every XL and every FACScan
in repair and in use.  If you are giving up an instrument, find a Home for it. 
 
When teaching graduate students to use the FACSCalibur in their research,
I often had to remind them of the breadth of scale we had to work with.
Even for Med Tech students in their introduction to instruments, the cytometry
was the berst, practical method of expanding their horizon about both
statistics and antibody preparation. 
 
To many students rely on the digrams which show 10 presenting proteins,
when they need to think about  the thousands of surface proteins.  It is
by far the best education in population statistics for cells, the very best
instruction on fluorescence in a practical way. 
 
And this extensive training can extend far beyond the research or clinical
use for new instruments.  I did some bsic work with high school science
students, whos horizons are still under development, whose ideas about
statistics is still one of 'terror'.  A good, careful discussion of what an
instrument can do, what it can show you is more a doorway to a bright
future.  This is not textbook eduction, it is the personal touch that a
researcher or technicial can give to future researchers. 
 
We often feel that we do not have time for this.  Yet, giving people all
the technical and instrumental knowedge is important.  They cannot 
continue a relaible experiment without some knowledge of compensation
and brightness of their stains.  It was sometimes hard to convince people
that the bright GFP they wanted was affecting the next channel.  The older,
not so bright GFP was just fine for their purposes.  Things like this. 
 
There is this close relation between microscopy and cytometry.  It is often
unappreciated by microscopists.  Yet by technical education we broaden
our scope of investigation and improve our levels of experimentation. IN
the end, we help people examine their experimental protocols with a 
fine toothed comb. 
 
Randy Smith
Portland, Oregon USA 		 	   		  


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