February 28, 2014  |  User Stories  |  By  |  0 Comments

Cytobank User Stories: Olga Ksionda, Ph.D.

Welcome to Cytobank User Stories, a series featuring interviews with Cytobank users on their research, scientific vision, and use of fluorescence and mass cytometry. This time we interview Olga Ksionda, Ph.D., a postdoctoral scholar in the lab of Jeroen Roose in the Department of Anatomy at the UCSF School of Medicine. 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?
Olga Ksionda, Ph.D.
Olga Ksionda, Ph.D.
UCSF School of Medicine

I am very much interested in understanding the molecular aspects of T cell development, especially in pathological settings when wrong decisions are “made” and T cells become autoimmune or malignant.

In general terms, I have always found it fascinating when unrelated fields cross fertilize with unexpected outcomes. I consider some of the best examples of this the Cre system or recently described CRISPR technology.

What do you study / what is your field?
During my Ph.D., I trained as an immunologist and currently my research mainly focuses on signals that drive and maintain T cell leukemia.
 For what do you use flow cytometry?
I mainly use it to investigate cellular and signaling responses to drugs and growth factors.  I also use it to analyze different immune cells populations focusing on stem and progenitor compartments.
What are some of your favorite papers?
I really enjoyed a Cell paper from Michael B Yaffe’s group [1]. They investigated if the order at which we give cancerous cells chemotherapy and targeted therapies makes a difference. Using different drug combinations they showed that the most efficacious way to kill triple negative breast cancer cells is to first give them targeted therapy (in this case EGFR inhibitor) followed by cytotoxic drug. The authors dug into the mechanisms behind this phenomenon by using various approaches such as proteomic, transcriptional, and computational analysis. I think it’s an important paper for anybody interested in cancer therapy.I also enjoyed a Nature Methods paper by Peter Krutzik and Garry Nolan [2]. It is an easy to follow protocol to do barcoding, with all of the nitty-gritty details. With its help, I could easily set this technique up in our lab and now most of my colleagues use it to do high-throughput, multiplex experiments.
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy cycling and the Bay Area is perfect for that. I also relax by playing squash and doing yoga. Cooking is another way to unwind after a busy day. It’s just like doing an experiment except that is works most of the time and you can eat something yummy at the end of it!
What’s your favorite thing about Cytobank?
I mostly use it to deconvolute my barcoded experiments.  I enjoy diverse options of data display and how easy it is to export raw data and graphs. I also like that you can easily share your experiments with other people. In general, I find it user-friendly and quite intuitive.


1. Sequential application of anticancer drugs enhances cell death by rewriting apoptotic signaling networks. Lee MJ et al. (2012) Cell. 149(4):780-94. [PubMed]

2. Fluorescent cell barcoding in flow cytometry allows high-throughput drug screening and signaling profiling. Krutzik PO et al. (2006) Nat Methods. 3(5):361-8. [PubMed]

Interview conducted and presented by Cytobank staff member Angela Landrigan.