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Adaptive Biotechnologies

Tips for Successful Bone Marrow Isolation 

During my first year of graduate school, I learned how to isolate bone marrow. I remember watching my mentor in awe, wondering how would I be able to do such a difficult technique. Flash forward to a few weeks later and I was confidently undertaking bone marrow isolation. Learning a new technique is always daunting,…

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Should You Switch from Wet to Dried Blood Samples?

A Spot of History Most of the biomedical methods used started as a curiosity. Then the one-off gains a limited use, the technology then progresses until its use becomes widespread. Just think about the arch from the curious polished glass spheres, used by Antony Levnhook to look at animalcules, to modern microscopes. The same story…

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Isolating Monocytes from Whole Blood: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you look at the composition of peripheral blood, using hematology microscopy, you’ll see that it’s composed of multiple different cell types, including monocytes. It’s possible to isolate these different components to study and experiment on them directly. So, if you’ve done a few experiments and had fun with THP-1 cells, you can move on…

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Thinking Outside the Box: Microscopy for Immunologists

When you think of an immunologist, you will likely imagine someone who studies the immune system… or maybe a person who speaks in a completely different language (CD? IL? The list goes on.). You may also think of a slew of assays that almost exclusively “belong” to immunologists, including ELISA, ELISpot, Flow Cytometry, chromium release…

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An Introduction to Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CARs)

You may have heard about a breakthrough cancer therapy that engineers patient’s immune cells to fight their cancer using  chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cells. If you don’t live in the world of immunology, you may not know what a CAR is, or what it is used for. Here you’ll find a brief guide to CARs,…

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How to Unclog Your Flow Cytometer

Welcome back, fellow flow cytometry friend! I am sure that you are rocking your data acquisition at this point, having perfected your understanding of panel set up, fluorophore usage, and using the flow cytometer of your choice. However, with as many samples as you are running, it is possible that you may be experiencing a…

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Five Things That Irritate Flow Cytometrists

I have worked in flow cytometry for a number of years. I’m still annoyed that many myths and imprecisions are perpetrated and perpetuated. Here is my non-exhaustive list of cytometry-related beliefs that send flow cytometrists screaming from the room or at least, being English, make me tut sadly. Forward Scatter Equals Cell Size No No…

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How to Maintain Healthy Interactions with Flow Cytometry Personnel

No matter the ingenuity of your science or the capabilities of your core facility, your results are only as good as your peer-to-peer relationship with the flow cytometry personnel. The following points are from my experience as a flow cytometry facility manager, but they are equally applicable during discussions with managers from any core area.…

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The Good, the Bad and the Expensive of Whole Genome Sequencing

Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) is still very cutting edge, sequencing technology and while there are a lot of perks to using it, there are also a few drawbacks. The good, the bad and the pricey are outlined below to help you navigate when it’s worth using WGS! Whole Genome Sequencing: The Good Lots of Data…

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Post-sorting Checks and Measures

In my previous article I discussed steps you can implement to ensure that a sample is ready for cell sorting. But now it’s time to make sure the sort worked. Here are a few sorting checks and measures to ensure that all’s well that ends well. Post-sorting Checks and Measures Re-evaluate Your Catch Tubes Sorting…

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Guidelines for Efficient Cell Sorting – Part 1

Flow cytometry is a pervasive tool to characterize just about anything in cell biology. From quantifying the expression of surface antigens, to determining the physiological changes in cells and everything in between, flow cytometry is as indispensable to a cell biologist as a knife is to a surgeon. Cell sorting is pivotal in enabling researchers…

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Brefeldin A v Monensin: How to Hunt for Proteins

As any good biologist knows, one of the easiest ways to determine if a cell is functionally active is the production and secretion of proteins in response to a stimulus. In many circumstances, the quantity of the secreted protein, and thus the level of cellular activation can be assessed by ELISA. However, if you are…

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Sheath Pressure: Nozzle Size Does Matter

Hello again, fellow Flow Cytometry Fan! It looks like you have your experiment all planned out, including staining protocols and gating schemes, and are ready to get some paradigm-shifting data. But before we start “plugging-and-chugging” samples through your cytometer of choice, we need to make sure that the nozzle size and sheath pressure are set…

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The 3 Most Common Flow Cytometry Fallacies

Flow cytometry is fast evolving from a method only revered by immunologists, to one used by nearly every biological specialty. It’s pretty much my favorite tool. Unfortunately, as with most lab techniques, much of flow cytometry is taught on the job without a lot of standards. And too often bad habits are passed along like…

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How to Perform DNA Extraction from Dried Blood Spots Using Chelex Resin

Every bio- scientist who wants to analyze DNA knows that the process begins with the extraction of DNA from cells of interest. These cells could be RBCs, parasites, or bacteria to name a few. Furthermore, there are various DNA extraction methods1  to choose from depending on sample type, downstream analysis, and so forth. Many scientists…

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The Difference Between an Image, Flow, Time-lapse and Cell-sorting Cytometer

Ah, cell counting — it’s the oldest trick in the book! Well, not really, but people have been developing methods for counting cells since the late 1800s. It has been around for a while. But what different methodologies are available to biologists now? Well, hold on, because you’re in for a treat! In this article, we…

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Chromium Release Assay: The Old School Way of Testing Cytotoxic T Cells

There are several methods you can use to see if your T cells are cytotoxic, but a chromium release assay using radioactive 51chromium (51Cr) is one of the oldest. It gives good results, and is great for labs that can’t afford or don’t have flow cytometry readily available. Here, I will outline a simple method…

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Multiplex Cytometric Bead Array: The ABCs of CBAs

Multi-parameter data acquisition is key to the modern era of science research. I, for one, wish every single experiment that I design would give me the maximum amount of information. For example, in cell biology and immunology, we want to capture as much information (be it cytokines/hormones/chemokines) as possible about a given cell population. Of…

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