February 21, 2012  |  User Stories  |  By  |  0 Comments

Cytobank User Stories: June Myklebust, Ph.D.

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

This time we interview June Myklebust, Ph.D., a project leader in Erland Smeland’s lab at Oslo University Hospital and former postdoctoral fellow in the Levy Lab at Stanford. June’s recent publications include her contributions to studies on B-cell signaling networks in lymphoma and her work on bone morphogenetic proteins in B cell suppression.

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?
June Myklebust, Ph.D.
Project Leader, Smeland lab
Oslo University Hospital
New discoveries that change our current biological models or change our view of what can be done in terms of therapeutic options. My scientific goal is to make discoveries from which patients can benefit. One of the challenges in cancer therapy today is to understand the molecular mechanisms for how patients develop fatal drug resistance. In the era of personalized medicine, development of in vitro assays with predictive power for drug-responsiveness, which then can guide the choice of therapy, would also be highly beneficial. I believe the ability to detect tumor cell heterogeneity will be crucial to address these issues, and therefore platforms for large-scale single cell measurements likely will be tiebreakers.

What do you study / what is your field?
I study cell signaling in normal and malignant B lymphocytes with the aim to identify aberrant signaling in the malignant cells.

What do you use flow cytometry for?
A variety of assays! Flow cytometry gives the opportunity to measure many different targets simultaneously, including intracellular phospho-proteins, in a quantitative manner. Because this method gives detection at the single cell level, tumor cell heterogeneity in cancer patient samples can be discovered. Basal as well as activation-induced cell signaling can be measured specifically in the different cell types present within the same sample. The quantitative measurements provide opportunities to compare across different patient samples, and to identify clinically relevant cell signaling features. I am also using flow cytometry for functional readouts in cell biology studies, including identification of cell differentiation, apoptotic cells, tracking of cell division and cell cycle distribution.

What are some of your favorite papers?
The first phospho-flow paper that I read was very impressive, and was why I went to Stanford and Ronald Levy Lab, to learn the technique from one of the pioneers of phospho-flow, Jonathan Irish:

Single cell profiling of potentiated phospho-protein networks in cancer cells. Irish JM et al, Cell (2004). 118(2):217-28.

The paper by Louis Staudt lab, describing their loss-of-function shRNA screen for molecular targets in cancer, based on retroviral transduction of lymphoma cell lines with shRNAs containing ‘barcodes’ and a corresponding ‘barcode’ cDNA microarrray screen:
A loss-of-function RNA interference screen for molecular targets in cancer. Ngo VN et al, Nature (2006). 441(7089):106-10.

What do you do for fun?
After being used to the Californian sun, it has been really hard to adjust back to the dark and cold Norwegian winters, but outdoor activities like cross-country skiing is a good cure.

What’s your favorite thing about Cytobank?
Everything! There are so many features that I find useful in Cytobank. First, that the experiments are organized similar to an ‘e-mail in-box’ gives an excellent overview. The opportunity to define custom scales for data display, and to import an existing compensation matrix into a new experiment is great. That you can share your experiments with collaborators really facilitates international collaboration.

Interview conducted and presented by Cytobank staff member Angela Landrigan.