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

Cytobank User Stories: Manfred Claassen, Ph.D.

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 Manfred Claassen, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor for Computational Biology at the Institute for Molecular Systems Biology at ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

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?
Manfred Claassen, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor ETH Zurich
Manfred Claassen, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor ETH Zurich

I am deeply impressed by the power of interdisciplinary approaches to elegantly, concisely and yet conclusively describe seemingly overwhelming complex biological phenomena and diseases by means of well-established scientific and sound mathematical principles. We are living in a time where the technological advances in biology enable us to map out these phenomena at ever increasing breadth and resolution. I believe that in the future we will be able to generically make use of these technologies to routinely draw scientific conclusions or design clinical interventions. To achieve this goal we still have to develop an appropriate language to describe and simulate complex biological systems at the right scale. It will be exciting to contribute to this endeavor.

What do you study / what is your field?
I studied biochemistry and computer science. Since then I have been doing research in the field of computational (single cell & proteome) biology.
What do you use flow cytometry for?
To study dynamical networks of intra- and intercellular signaling processes in the context of cancer and immunology biology.
What are some of your favorite papers?
I guess that at the time where I thought about how to orient for my PhD, I was strongly influenced by flashy papers introducing the, back then, arising field of systems biology, e.g. by the paper entitled “Computational systems biology” from Hiroaki Kitano. Later I learned that it is a long way to accomplish the delineated promises. Despite glossing over many tricky details I still like this paper because it describes a different and fruitful view on how to carry out research in biology.Other more recent papers that I liked a lot:

Single-cell mass cytometry of differential immune and drug responses across a human hematopoietic continuum.

Mammalian genes are transcribed with widely different bursting kinetics.

What do you do for fun?
Hanging out with my little family. Also I like running, swimming and cycling. Rarely putting these things together in a triathlon event.
What’s your favorite thing about Cytobank?
To be able to quickly, intuitively and yet deeply survey large flow cytometry experiments.

Interview conducted and presented by Cytobank staff member TJ Chen.