July 31, 2013  |  User Stories  |  By  |  0 Comments

Cytobank User Stories: Benjamin Spurgeon

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

This time we interview Benjamin Spurgeon a PhD student in Professor Khalid Naseem’s Thrombosis & Hemostasis Research Laboratory at the Centre for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research, Hull York Medical School, Hull, UK.

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?
Benjamin Spurgeon - PhD student
Benjamin Spurgeon – PhD student

I am particularly excited about the development of methods for the identification of novel therapeutic agents. Flow cytometry provides a powerful platform for drug screening because of its inherent capability to discern specific cell populations from heterogeneous mixtures. Using flow cytometry, we can therefore evaluate the efficacy of drug compounds in the physiologic milieu of whole blood. Additionally, flow cytometry can be (and is being) used to assess the efficacy of therapeutic regimens. My vision concerns the development of flow cytometry systems suitable for rapid and convenient monitoring of drug therapies.

What do you study / what is your field?
I am working in the field of hemostasis and thrombosis, with a particular emphasis on blood platelets. As a research group, we are interested in identifying receptors and signaling cascades that modulate platelet function and whether these can be used as targets for the development of antithrombotic agents.
What do you use flow cytometry for?
Cyclic nucleotide signaling cascades are potent global modulators of platelet function, and may therefore present targets for antithrombotic agents. I have used phosphospecific flow cytometry, with fluorescent cell barcoding, to assess multiple aspects of cyclic nucleotide signaling in human platelets. I have also screened compound libraries to identify novel agents that modulate cyclic nucleotide signaling. More recently, I have been using flow cytometry to profile signaling cascades in patients with endocrine disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome and diabetes in which platelet dysfunction is thought to exist.
What are some of your favorite papers?
My favorite papers include Krutzik & Nolan’s (2003) optimization of techniques for the analysis of intracellular signaling events. I used this paper to guide the optimization of my own platelet-based assays. Another paper, by our own group (Wraith et al., 2013), identifies a novel signaling cascade downstream of the CD36 receptor in platelets. This previously uncharacterized signaling cascade might represent a viable therapeutic target in hyperlipidemic individuals.
What do you do for fun?
I exercise, play sport, and listen to music.
What’s your favorite thing about Cytobank?
Cytobank permits rapid and simple deconvolution of multiplexed samples, making it ideal for the analysis of large-scale signaling data. Its flexibility is also attractive, allowing users to effortlessly switch between plots (be it histograms or heatmaps) at the click of a mouse.

Interview conducted and presented by Cytobank staff member Geoff Kraker.