March 13, 2012  |  User Stories  |  By  |  0 Comments

Cytobank User Stories: Ernesto Diaz-Flores, 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 Ernesto Diaz-Flores, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in Mignon Loh’s lab and previously in Kevin Shannon’s lab, both located at UCSF. Ernesto’s recent publications include his contributions to studies of p53 loss in acute myeloid leukemia, STAT5 activation in myeloid malignancies, and K-Ras(G12D) expression in primary hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells.

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?
Ernesto Diaz-Flores, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow – Shannon Lab UCSF

Science is a very exciting field because every new question represents a new challenge. As a scientist, my biggest contribution would be to tease out the biochemical mechanisms leading to leukemia and use that information to predict therapeutic responses prior to subjecting the patient to the treatment.
What do you study / what is your field?
One project is to study the mechanism used by oncogenic Kras to mediate myeloid leukemias. My most recent project is to biochemically characterize hypodiploid leukemias. Through the use of a signaling profiling platform, we aim to understand why they do not respond to chemotherapy.

What do you use flow cytometry for?
Most of my approaches use flow cytometry. Flow is very a powerful tool where you can have a very heterogeneous sample and just by applying gates you can analyze biochemical profiles in the subpopulation of interest (i.e, tumor cells, normal cells, stem cells, mature cells…), even if they are all combined and even if one is underrepresented.

What are some of your favorite papers?
Single cell profiling of potentiated phospho-protein networks in cancer cells.  Irish JM et al, Cell (2004). 118(2):217-28.

This paper inspired me and showed analytical possibilities that were not possible with conventional techniques.

Genomic analysis of the clonal origins of relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Mullighan CG et al. Science (2008). 322(5906):1377-80.

This paper challenged the dogma of leukemic cells of origin.

Recurring mutations found by sequencing an acute myeloid leukemia genome. Mardis ER, et al. N Engl J Med (2009). 361(11)-1058-66.

This manuscript is the genomic version of what I would envision for protein alteration profiling.

And in general, I enjoy reading papers that make important contributions to science while taking the less-traveled road!

What do you do for fun?
Wow, I could go on and on here, but just to mention some of my hobbies, I dance flamenco and salsa, I do SCUBA diving, I do photography (I am currently the president of the Photography Club at UCSF), I go hiking quite often and run at least two times per week.

What’s your favorite thing about Cytobank?
Heatmaps, hands down! I do large scale experiments and heatmaps allow me to show all the results in a very visual matrix. Besides, you can load a large amount of data from your experiment, analyze all the data in very few minutes, and get the results automatically.  In addition, I like that is very easy to change the layouts (Illustrations) and update any changes immediately.

Interview conducted and presented by Cytobank staff member Angela Landrigan.