January 23, 2012  |  User Stories  |  By  |  0 Comments

Cytobank User Stories: Sean Bendall, Ph.D.

Welcome to our inaugural issue of Cytobank User Stories, a series featuring interviews with Cytobank users on their research, scientific vision, and use of flow cytometry.

First up is Sean Bendall, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in Garry Nolan’s lab at Stanford University. Sean’s recent publications include his work on mass cytometry as well as SPADE (available in hosted models of Cytobank).

We’d be happy to hear what you think. Send us feedback and let us know who you’d like to hear from (including yourself)!

What are you excited about in science? What is your scientific vision?
Sean Bendall, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral fellow, Nolan lab
Stanford University
The thought of finding new biological paradigms is what gets me most excited.  There are many basic things in life that happen (biologically / biochemically – that is) which we take for granted.  However the underlying mechanism of many of these is completely unknown to us, and thus when they go awry we have little recourse to address them therapeutically.  Currently, in the context of the human genome, we really only have a grasp on about 20% of what’s there.  My overriding goal would be to develop methods / systems to help rapidly fill in this knowledge gap.  Because of the complexity (heterogeneity) of the human system, I believe that single-cell approaches will be best in addressing this and therefore my work will only put an increasing demand on analysis platforms to accommodate it.

What do you study / what is your field?
I study the function (behavior) of and develop methods for analyzing the different hematopoietic and pluripotent stem cell compartments.

What do you use flow cytometry for?
Everything?  When you deal with any sort of real sample that contains a complex mixture of cell-types or cells behaving asynchronously, single cell resolution is a necessary requirement for the analysis.  Flow cytometry is one of the most robust and rapid methods to accomplish this.

What are some of your favorite papers?
The first stem cell paper: A direct measurement of the radiation sensitivity of normal mouse bone marrow cells. Till JE, McCullough EA. Radiation Res. (1961) 14:213–222.

Gold-standard phospho-flow: Intracellular phospho-protein staining techniques for flow cytometry: monitoring single cell signaling events. Krutzik PO, Nolan GP. Cytometry A. (2003) 55(2):61-70.

What do you do for fun?
Avoid writing emails.

What’s your favorite thing about Cytobank?
Heatmaps, exporting gated data, custom scaling of scales for data display, ability to “instantly” re-arrange an analysis (illustration) from an existing project.


Interview conducted and presented by Cytobank staff member Angela Landrigan.