Flow cytometry - a blessing in disguise for my research

Sumit Ghosh
by Sumit Ghosh

One of the most important aspects of research is to design experiments properly and I believe that this is the most important step as a lot of critical thinking goes in designing experiments to prove your hypothesis. I always believed in the formula (Designing experiments efficiently ∝ probability of getting expected results). During my PhD at NDSU I have handled different projects which required expertise in different techniques but the most exciting one has been studying different cell populations. The main problem I ran into was that most of my experiments were dependent on in vivo analysis of different cell populations and it’s very difficult to analyze and study cells in vivo. Cell lines at time can be your savior but it was not the case with me. I was lucky that the lab in which I was working had a technician who had an excellent knowledge and expertise in flow cytometry. At first I really did not acknowledge its worth, as at that time I really had no idea how important this technique would become for me in the coming years. It took me time to understand the basic methodology as it’s a very time consuming and intensive procedure but once you get a feel of it you realize how much you can do with this small piece of equipment. It works on the principal that you use different fluorophores conjugated to a particular antibody which recognizes a target feature on a cell. Each fluorophore absorbs and emits light at different wavelength and this helps you to identify and study different cells in a heterogeneous population. Brilliant!!! Isn’t it… All of a sudden research seemed more intriguing to me as now I could see and study the different cells which are present in our body about which I had only read in textbooks.

I wanted to mention this story as I would like others at NDSU to know more about these facilities and the different equipment’s that are available for students across the campus which can make their research experience a happy one. You just gotta keep talking to people—graduate students from other departments, postdocs and Professors across the campus. If you are getting jammed up by technical difficulties, logistics, odds are that many others in your field have too and so someone from your university or some company has probably developed some solution that you need to find.

Click here for more information on flow cytometery.