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World’s eyes on Centenary at international conference

Thursday 26 May 2011

World’s eyes on the Centenary Institute at international conference

Having the world’s most advanced flow cytometer has put Centenary Institute on the world map, said Dr Adrian Smith who has been talking to international cytometry experts at the CYTO 2011 Conference inBaltimore, US.

The conference generated stimulating and intense discussion about the use of cytometry to advance medical research into major diseases. In particular, Dr Smith’s poster presentation on benefits using the advanced cytometer received major interest from international experts.

A flow cytometer allows researchers to find minute characteristics of large populations of cells to profile rare disease-causing cells. This is done by tagging the groups of cells with special fluorescent dyes and running them through the cytometer’s laser beams to identify the number and type of cells.

“Most high-end flow cytometers have four to five lasers so there was a lot of interest from people at the conference in our world-first flow cytometer with 10 lasers,” said Dr Smith, who heads up flow cytometry at Centenary Institute.

“On a system with fewer lasers, a researcher may have to run a sample of cells two or three times using complex labelling systems to analyse all the unique characteristics of a cell. It’s like a detective trying to piece together partial fingerprints to get one complete fingerprint.

“The extra lasers allow researchers to make easier, faster and more accurate analysis of rare disease-causing cells because they only have to run one sample to get a complete ‘fingerprint’”.

Dr Smith is also meeting with cytometry experts at the National Institute of Health (NIH) before flying back to Australia.

Centenary Institute launched the world-first 9-laser cytometer
last year but recently added the 10th laser. These initiatives are part of the Advanced Cytometry Facility (ACF), which is a joint venture run by the Centenary Institute, the University of Sydney and the Bosch Institute.

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