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Derek Davies (Francis Crick Institute) and Karen Hogg (University of York)

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#4 — In today’s episode of Flow Stars we discover more about cytometry training with Derek Davies of the Francis Crick Institute and Karen Hogg of the University of York. These two exceptional trainers share their thoughts on the importance of networking, what gets them out of bed in the morning, and – in Derek’s case – the trials and tribulations of Carshalton Athletic FC. The pair discuss their career highs – and lows – in this candid and engaging interview.

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This is an automated transcript and may not be 100% accurate.

Intro/Outro (00:00:01):
Welcome to Flow Star candid conversations between Dr. Peter O’Toole and the big hitters of Flow Cytometry brought to you by Beckman Coulter at Bitesize Bio.

Peter O’Toole (00:00:12):
Welcome to Flow Star, the series that interviews top names in Flow Cytometry, and gets to know them on a more personal level. In this episode, Derek Davies and Karen Hogg. Tell us more about their roles in cytometry training and how we learn, how Karen likes to unwind on the slopes,

Karen Hogg (00:00:31):
Such a break from everything else that’s going on.

Peter O’Toole (00:00:35):
The importance of collaboration.

Derek Davies (00:00:37):
Never a one, man band is it? You have to bring people in who have the right strengths and the right skills to push

Peter O’Toole (00:00:44):
And a rather novel hair conditioner.

Karen Hogg (00:00:47):
And sometimes the opening of the straw. Doesn’t go according to plan.

Peter O’Toole (00:00:53):
All in this episode of Flow Star ,

Peter O’Toole (00:00:58):
Hi, I’m Peter O’Toole and today I’m joined by Derek Davis from Francis Crick down in London, in the UK and Karen Hogg, who actually works with myself at the University of York. It’s the first time I’ve actually had the chance to actually do someone who actually works with me. Although arguably Derek, we also worked together quite a lot.

Derek Davies (00:01:18):
We, we do Pete this. We’ve done a lot of initiatives over the past few years. How long have I known you 16, 17 years or something like that.

Peter O’Toole (00:01:25):
I would say probably 17. Yeah. And I think

Derek Davies (00:01:28):
Two or three or four times a year, we’re doing, doing something together, generally delivering courses.

Karen Hogg (00:01:33):
I think think York’s your second home Derek.

Derek Davies (00:01:36):
It is. I love it. In New York,

Peter O’Toole (00:01:38):
Let’s say 2, 3, 4, probably at least four times a year with different initiatives. In fact, I think we probably collectively all met probably on the Royal Microscopical Society Flow course when it first came to York formally, although we might’ve met each other at a user group meeting for the MoFlow before that.

Derek Davies (00:01:59):
Yeah. It’s probably been in the 1990s, late nineties, probably noughties for me guys. That was that like

Peter O’Toole (00:02:09):
My first MoFlow is 2001. So yeah, that, that was, that was my first cell sorter was the MoFlow. What about yourself? What was your first sorters or Karen your mine So sorter MoFlow Derek,

Derek Davies (00:02:23):
My first sorter was the BD FACS star way, way back. This was in the late eighties. I suppose something like that. I didn’t get a MOFlow, our first MOFlow was 1998. So we were one of the first in the UK to get that.

Peter O’Toole (00:02:38):
And personally, it’s still one of my favorites. Actually.

Derek Davies (00:02:41):
It is. I think if they still made them, I buy one very adaptable

Karen Hogg (00:02:48):
Model was definitely the best. It’s

Peter O’Toole (00:02:51):
The one that you really felt at one with, you could feel it, you could feel it

Derek Davies (00:02:56):
Right. I mean, I, I say that to people when you’re, when we’re them and she, you know, you have to listen to the noises that the machine’s making. It’s like a car, isn’t it? You know, when something’s wrong.

Peter O’Toole (00:03:06):
Yeah. I prefer it when the MoFlow wrong than my car. Cause I can generally fix the MoFlow. I could never fix my car.

Derek Davies (00:03:14):
Cheaper to fix the MoFLow than your car,

Peter O’Toole (00:03:17):
It’s got a service contract. So definitely, definitely. It’s not my money at that point. Is it? So you said you love Yorkshire, Derek. You actually did your undergraduate. Is that right at Leeds? I did

Derek Davies (00:03:29):
In Leeds. Yes. Yeah. Lead leads was a good time. Yeah. So I think most people choose their undergraduate university based on social activity. Yes. Maybe rather than their actual degree. I did a degree degree in animal physiology, which is obviously pretty different to what I’m doing now, but Leeds in the late seventies was it was a great place for music, which is a sort of why I chose it. There was sort of music late seventies. This is punk Pete. Yeah. The Clash The Stranglers, no fans like that. And Leeds was a very big university. So they were always on the circuit.

Peter O’Toole (00:04:07):
Okay. You heard of them Karen The Clash,

Karen Hogg (00:04:13):
Yes I’ve heard of them.

Derek Davies (00:04:13):
It’s a generational thing.

Peter O’Toole (00:04:16):
So Leeds obviously is up in Yorkshire. So North of England probably only halfway up England in reality, it stretches out quite fast and actually neighbors York. So very close to where, where I, where we live now. But certainly I, wasn’t a Yorkshireman to start with, but quite happy to be up here. It’s a beautiful part of the country. So how did you go from animal physiology into flow cytometry?

Derek Davies (00:04:44):
Well, that’s a bit of a circuitous route. Okay. So when I left university rather than pursuing the sort of academic route, I decided I needed the job. So I got a job in a cytology laboratory, which is where you were screening cervical smears, but because it was a very big regional unit, it also had lots of other things going on. So there was an EM parts, there was a Histology part was Tissue Culture. So that’s actually a great introduction into, into all of the technologies that we still use now. And and we had there, I think what a micro densitometer, which was not a flow cytometer. So, but a cytometer allows you to get information about DNA content using a colorimetric method. And through that, I got in contact with somebody who had a flow cytometer, a FACS analyzer BD machine, and found that I could do the same amount of work in 10 minutes. That was taking me in into our day to day. Almost never looked back from that point. That’s the Vickers M86 micro densitometer, probably like a mobile phone. You’d probably buy one of those that fits in the Palm of your hand nowadays. But as I say, it works in a sort of light loss method. You stained cells with a colorimetric dye shift, free agent, and then you measured the amount of light that came out. The other side of the cell that’s inversely proportional to the amount of DNA. So this is my first introduction to DNA analysis as well.

Peter O’Toole (00:05:59):
So Karen, what was your first flow cytometer?

Karen Hogg (00:06:02):
That was a MoFLow legacy when you got one bought in the department here at York. So I hadn’t done any sorting since, since then. So that was my, a baptism of fire with having the legacy installed and then getting up, up and running as a three laser system was great fun.

Peter O’Toole (00:06:22):
But what about your first cytometer full stop?

Karen Hogg (00:06:25):
Oh, so that was an Epics XL. So that was the analyzer that was in Alan Wilson and Pat Coulson corridor lab domain. And I used that when I was working as a postdoc with Adrian Mountford So yeah, that was yeah, one, one laser three color. Little wonder. Yeah,

Derek Davies (00:06:47):
Not so commonly used, but like the analyzer, we won’t show you so many of those now

Peter O’Toole (00:06:53):
Let’s say Karen, I don’t think there’s much epic about the epic,

Karen Hogg (00:06:58):
The lights, the front were I pick, I liked my little lights going along.

Peter O’Toole (00:07:04):
Yeah. I remember moving to your can actually. So my first was a FACS caliber and moving to York and their was epics, and very swiftly bought Cyans.

Karen Hogg (00:07:15):
You wanted nothing to do with that Epics. I looked after it till it took her then

Peter O’Toole (00:07:19):
For that good reason for that. But you weren’t working for me at the time. At that point, it was just to test you to see how good you were at, if I wanted you to join the team cabin you and my first person that I actually employed ever. So that was a, that was a good move, I think.

Karen Hogg (00:07:39):
And I’m still here.

Peter O’Toole (00:07:42):
Yeah, two, two, right? You’re not going anywhere either. So Karen how, I’m going to switch now. Karen, have you found working at York and for my God, this is personally how you found working for myself

Karen Hogg (00:07:59):
Your in for it now working at York’s been really great. I mean, I, I really enjoyed the department before expanded and had the technology facility belt on into it. And working here as a postdoc was, was great. And I just wanted to stay within the department when that came to an end. And fortunately the post got extended as it does for six months with some pump primary money. And that allowed the technology facility to come on stream and for you to appear and then to yeah, advertise the post. Otherwise I would’ve, I would’ve, I would’ve gone. So I was delighted when I had the opportunity to stay and moving into the technology facilities has been brilliant. It’s just been exactly what I wanted for staying in science. Didn’t want to be a PI. I didn’t want to do another postdoc, wanted to just stay doing a range of things and working more with the technology in the applications and yeah, it’s been, it’s been good. And

Peter O’Toole (00:08:59):
Fortunately we, you haven’t stopped being a post-doc you are. I think the role you have is very post-doctorly minded. You’re still doing research. You’re still adding to research. It’s just, you’re at a super sub is a long way to use it, but you’re floating expert that jumps into people’s projects. So that’s post-doctoral experience, which really need, I think David you’ll agree as well yourself.

Derek Davies (00:09:24):
I think most people who end up in core facilities are like that, where you end up there because of the range of people and the range of different applications and the range of science that’s being done. So we can dip in as, and when we’re needed. And I think that gives you a lot of job satisfaction as well.

Karen Hogg (00:09:39):
Yeah. Sometimes it’s training and sometimes it’s more what we term as full service work, where you take the paper or take the application they want and work it up and sort it out so that it’s then fit for publication, hopefully. So it’s, it’s a really good, really good mix. And it’s been been, you know, good, fun challenges, learning all sorts of troubleshooting, as well as fun along the way. Yeah.

Derek Davies (00:10:06):
Users are on a bit of a journey aren’t they, they’ve got a question. They want to get an answer and we can input into that. We can help them on their way in, in all sorts of different ways. So as you say, Karen, sometimes we’re training them to run everything themselves. Sometimes we do that for them. Sometimes we’re helping them with the results and the publication and so on,

Peter O’Toole (00:10:22):
And it’s working out the protocols would really important as well.

Karen Hogg (00:10:27):
Yeah. It’s a lot of solution finding because often the protocols are different instrument, different cell line, different parasite, different bacteria, restrain, and oh, sample specific comes into the conversation a lot with working up. Yeah. Okay.

Derek Davies (00:10:43):
At the same time though, we have to be cognizant of what’s happening in the, in the field. Don’t we? So that’s another great aspect of the job in that we get to play with the new technology. So, you know, we talked about the epics and the FACS analyze. I both work in the same way that cytometers work now, but almost everything there has changed. So I did two color analysis, 30 odd years ago. Now we can do 30 plus we’ve got different detectors, you’ve got more lasers, it’s all changed.

Karen Hogg (00:11:10):
Also. It gives us the excuse to and the reason not the excuse or the need to travel and speak to people and go to conferences and find out the next new instrument on the block or the reagents do use within them, which is also a lot of fun as well as bringing back information that we can put into the facility and you know, move it on to be cutting edge or novel, which is very enjoyable and great as well. So actually

Peter O’Toole (00:11:37):
I had some quick fire questions and one of those, so you both got to answer. Okay. So first one of those was conference or lab, where do you prefer conference.

Derek Davies (00:11:50):

Karen Hogg (00:11:52):

Peter O’Toole (00:11:52):
Okay. So got conference conference lab. Okay. So when you in the office area, office or lab,

Karen Hogg (00:11:59):

Peter O’Toole (00:12:02):
Work or home

Derek Davies (00:12:04):
Home um mostly.

Peter O’Toole (00:12:07):
Karen you paused way too long for that way, way too long. Yeah, that was it. That was it. That was a deliberate question. Just to get you in trouble at home.

Derek Davies (00:12:17):
Well, of course having said that I’ll do a lot of work at home as well. Yes.

Karen Hogg (00:12:21):
Well, when I’m at home, sometimes I want to be at work and when I’m at work, sometimes I want to be at home. So it depends how the mood is for me and for everybody else. Yeah.

Derek Davies (00:12:35):
I think we all sort of thrive on the interactions that we get, whether it’s at conferences or in the lab with our lab flow lab colleagues or our users as well. And it’s all very important.

Peter O’Toole (00:12:47):
I say during the during the COVID lockdown, I’ve missed conferences to a degree, but I think the virtual interactions have been really useful to at least keep some of that contact with. I know it’s not your networking in my case. I think he’s actually friends a lot. I would actually class, a lot of the people you’re meeting at conferences is friends, not just a network or colleagues, maybe that’s to don’t have any friends, friends out of work. I see. That’s it, what’s your feelings on that? Yeah.

Derek Davies (00:13:19):
A lot of us have been in the field a long time and when we do go to the same conferences and you do, you become friends and you make not just the professional network, but the personal network as well. We know other people’s families, you ask about their kids. So when we see them growing up business, a long time,

Karen Hogg (00:13:35):
You see the photos year on year is to, you know, where, where people are, what they’ve been on holiday or, or what they want to do next for the next year. And sometimes actually you have those conversations with colleagues and friends at conferences and networking meetings that, you know, also what’s your plans for the next year. And you sometimes reveal a little bit to yourself about yourself, through those conversations as well in terms of, you know, where you want to be in the next year. And you don’t have the time in a busy lab to sometimes have that pause for thought. So it it’s, it’s good. Good. All rounder

Peter O’Toole (00:14:09):
The Karen is that it is that you’re trying to hint that you have ambition that you want to tell me about I’m in your office Pete

Karen Hogg (00:14:19):
Yeah, no, definitely not. I am very happy with the job I have now and I have no intention to move the position. I think the role is, is great for me and I thoroughly enjoy it. And

Peter O’Toole (00:14:36):
You’ve both developed your roles tho, you know, you didn’t start where you are today. You both, so Karen we heard you went into postdoctoral Derek. You went into a, almost a path lab to a degree, but you’ve obviously moved up. So Derek kind of how, how did your career progression occur? What were the steps? It’s the big steps? So

Derek Davies (00:14:58):
I mentioned that I found somebody who had a flow cytometer. We started using that to do exactly the same work we were doing with the micro densitometer. So looking at the DNA comments cycle smears, and that the whole point of that was to try and automate the screening process. So we actually managed to put together a grant, to the MRC which was funded. So then I moved to King’s College Hospital in South London and did a three-year MRC grant funded project looking at that. But late eighties, this is where the money was a little bit tight that ran out. So I ended up moving to what was the Imperial Cancer Research fund working in their core facility. And within six months, I suppose I went to the guy who looked after the whole of the research services, where the core facilities were and said, you know, this is what I want to do. Are there any barriers for me not having a PhD, for example, to doing this? And he said, no, what we want is people who are cognizant and fate with this technology, because that’s what we want to push forward. So that was my start of my career in the flow cytometry facility. I ended up starting running that in the mid nineties and had done that ever since grown from small beginnings, two or three machines to staff to what is now nearly 30 cytometers and 12 staff,

Peter O’Toole (00:16:15):
Which is huge big. There was an important input, interesting point there that you raised that, you know, will I have limitations if I don’t have a PhD? And certainly at York, we always ask for a PhD or equivalent experience and you always bring to mind because obviously you’re a leader in the wonderfully cytometry, your expert in it second to none many aspects obviously not with your hair compared to me, but many aspects, your expert. And yeah, it’s made me realize the importance of always having, having that equivalent experience because people come and gain, find their niche in life, find their vocation in life. And it may not be that they haven’t had a PhD to get there, but it makes it no lesser experience. In fact, the best people don’t have to have a PhD, but don’t you think someone could get your role today without a PhD?

Derek Davies (00:17:16):
Yes, I do still think the attitude of the, maybe the more enlightened institutes is exactly what you’ve been saying, that, that you have the right experience because you know, sometimes when you’re doing a PhD, you are very focused on a particular area. We don’t, we can’t do that. We have to be much broader, anything, you know, I’ve moved on from running the facility. And my successor also doesn’t have a PhD.

Peter O’Toole (00:17:41):
Which is a credit to Crick. I think having that, and I don’t think that’s commonplace across the world.

Derek Davies (00:17:50):
No I don’t But I think maybe people should be thinking about that because, you know, we, we potentially lose very talented people by putting that potential, slightly artificial barrier in front

Peter O’Toole (00:18:00):
Of them. And so from London research Institute, obviously you then went to, well, it was a natural migration to the Crick in 2015.

Derek Davies (00:18:10):
Definitely. Yeah. So that was, that was a fun time we sleep because most people should be aware that the CREC was formed by merger of two large institutes. So we had to merge flow cores together. And that was an interesting time because they were there, there are different personalities, they were different remits of the lab and there different expectations of the lab. And yeah, interesting. And also hard time. I think it took us two or three years, I think, to come to a steady state, which we’re at now.

Peter O’Toole (00:18:39):
So I, I guess from the outside, looking in, you’re always issuing the natural person to lead the two there’s two groups coming together as one core and the can only be one head. And so, you know, who was going to be the big head that that’s not the right way to word it, is it, but you know what I mean? I think that was always a natural shoe. And I think part of that is you do better at your own international profile. So you were seen as leading the field, not, not just delivering excellence within your facility, which is essential, but you’d also really develop that network in that, that international profile for delivering got a much wider scale, which was so important to Crick’s mission as well. Exactly. And

Derek Davies (00:19:23):
I don’t know, I think, you know, we’ll, we should all be in that mindset of pushing forward things like best practices. And you’re only going to do that by developing those international networks and, and hopefully leading in that as well. A lot of people are doing flow cytometry. A lot of people are doing it in multiple different ways as well, or running labs in different ways. You know, there, there, there are good things and bad things, good practice and bad practice. And we’re going to steer people towards that good practice

Peter O’Toole (00:19:50):
And, and just stay, I will move off, is getting quite long on this career bit, but I will stay on just this a little bit longer because it was important. You mentioned how Andy Riddell taken your posts and come up through the ranks that way. But I think it’s important to share and give your staff the opportunity to also develop that own international profile. And now I am looking at Karen cause actually Karen’s here today because you have a large international profile too which is odd. Cause you know, I I’m I’m leader of the lab. But actually you, you also now have a large international profile. In fact, you were awarded the Royal Microscopical Society, the RMS medal, the first, the inaugural medal for Flow cytometry at that time.

Karen Hogg (00:20:36):
And that’s been, that’s been really good part of the job sort of growing, growing the position. And then partly because well, Pete you’ve been too busy sometimes to give talks when you’ve been invited and kindly then given me the opportunity to go and talk in your place. And then after that I’ve been asked back again or by other people. And so it grew by being given that opportunity so on, on the back of, on the back of your position, but then in my, in my own merit as well, and, and that’s been, that’s been really, really good and on as well as teaching many different international students on the Flow courses as well, then going to places, and talking at conferences and teaching on other countries, Flow courses has been, been really nice and getting the medal it was was, was lovely. It was really good. I was delighted. So yeah, in a case downstairs in the display cabinet, so

Peter O’Toole (00:21:39):
That’s downstairs in the department, not at home. Should I just quickly add to the department was very proud of you getting that medal as well. And that’s where I actually, I read this is by the incestuous actually a hundred realize just how bad this actually was because Derek your the outgoing chair for the RMS section for flow cytometry or cytometry and Karen you’re the incoming chair. And, but both of your, I would, I would argue both your, some of your biggest impacts are through teaching and training. So training others and sharing that knowledge and encouraging others to develop their career and get the best out of science. And both of you teach internationally. So Derek, where you give us some examples of where you’ve taught

Derek Davies (00:22:24):
Finland, I was in Croatia. I was at the Karen course in Finland, most of European countries states, Canada,

Peter O’Toole (00:22:35):
And Karen.

Karen Hogg (00:22:36):
Yeah, mainly mainly Europe. I’ve not taught over in America. I’ve attended conferences and Johnson talks over there, but I’ve not done Flow courses there. So but are you

Peter O’Toole (00:22:49):
Just forgetting about Africa, but don’t worry about that. Yeah.

Peter O’Toole (00:22:55):
So both of You, both of you got a big input into the development of flow cytometry and enabling flow cytometry across various regions of Africa.

Karen Hogg (00:23:05):
So we’re three weeks at the minute. I have a zoom training meeting with the members of the consortium for the EDC TP grant with Paul Kay. And I do have people from Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda on that call, but I’m not there. So I feel like that’s still the UK course, but I suppose, no, it’s not. It isn’t international.

Peter O’Toole (00:23:26):
If it wasn’t for the lockdown over the COVID period, you would have been over there that there was a course pending. So obviously they came to York and we did some teaching there, but the plan is to also reciprocate and go and teach even more firsthand. And help train the trainers, which is,

Karen Hogg (00:23:44):
Think I will be going to Uganda and resuming that training and getting the partners from the other countries coming over to Uganda. So I’ve still got that on my to-do list. And I can’t wait to go and get that sorted, really.

Derek Davies (00:23:59):
Yeah. Yeah. You mentioned the phrase there Pete train the trainers. That’s a big, big thing. Isn’t it? In the training world, we can’t do everything ourselves. So we need to make sure we can impart the right knowledge to the right people at the right time. That’s what we’re doing.

Peter O’Toole (00:24:12):
Let’s so Derek, you love conferences, Kevin. Obviously you go to the big conferences and smaller conferences too, especially when you’re invited to speak. That’s a lot of time away from not just the lab, but from home as well. So how how’d you, how’d you balance that that, that home work-life balance

Derek Davies (00:24:37):
That can be quite tricky because I’m sure you’re the same Pete that sometimes I look back at my year and I think actually I was, I was out away from home for 50, 60 days a year, which at the time, when it’s one day at a time, it doesn’t seem too much, but you know, that’s, that’s quite a big time to be away from your family.

Karen Hogg (00:24:52):
Adds up

Peter O’Toole (00:24:55):
I think actually I had one year where actually nearly it was probably close to 40 to 50% of the year. I did not eat at home. So sometimes I’ll get back. But with the courses you eat out with the delegates, can you see important that they bond do you network and they have, they see you in that light. And they get to know the personally because then they ask more questions. When

Derek Davies (00:25:17):
Teaching courses, it’s not just about the teaching, it’s about socializing. It’s about getting people to relax and maybe ask questions. They wouldn’t ask. Normally that’s a big part of their job

Karen Hogg (00:25:28):
And the evenings out and that sort of shared eating experience and also going around York and listening to Pete’s jokes and ghost tales you know, really helps then enable the delegates to relax and ask more questions and ask adhoc questions when we’re out and about as well that then you can bring back into the sessions the following day. It does have a very positive impact, but see that

Peter O’Toole (00:25:55):
I would say that my jokes have you on your knees, but actually it’s the ghost tour that has you on the knees for that specific ghost story of the Roman Legion. I guess you have to come on the flow cause see these two marching on their knees too. It is quite a surreal experience, but what else, what else do you do when you get at home though? So you balance that, but you’ve got to obviously put the effort in at home. So I’ll ask you, cause actually I have not a clue what this picture is of

Karen Hogg (00:26:22):
So my husband, John and Isabella, Rebecca, and we are carving our initials into a piece of stone. That’s going to be part of the dry stone wall maze at Dalby Forrest. So it’s still in construction. It’s going to take probably another three to five years and we’re sponsoring the maze by putting a stone in with our initials or important anniversary dates years. So you get to go for an afternoon and you’re shown how to do the stone carving. And we’ve seen our stone in the maze and we were allowed to go and see where it’s located. And it’s getting higher, but I look forward to seeing it all completed.

Peter O’Toole (00:27:00):
So, so Dalby’s also where you run, is that correct? Karen? I don’t think this is there, but you do a park run. Oh yeah,

Karen Hogg (00:27:11):
Yeah. Dalby Forrest has our local 5k park run. So we do that when we can in Hong Kong every Saturday morning at nine o’clock come, what may. So this is actually part of the hard, moor series. So this was the rabbit run upper Danby also on the Northfield moors. And so yeah,

Peter O’Toole (00:27:32):
Hilly areas. These are these aren’t flat burns. These are quite hilly.

Karen Hogg (00:27:35):
Yeah. The, the incline is quite high. So the, the elevations are usually in a couple of hundred meters, if not a bit more. So yeah, I do walk a bit of it, but not as high as when you go skiing. No, no, not as high. We can go skiing. So this was taken, I think this is in Lemonweir in France that yeah, that’s, that’s such good fun. I really like the running and the skiing, but the skiing you’re concentrating so much on what you’re doing is such a break from everything else that’s going on is just brilliant. I just love it. You’re exhausted at the end of the week, but you’ve had such a mental break from everything else because you’re not going to have to think about anything else, your brain so occupied with getting safely down the mountain and watching the children and hope that they also get safely down the mountain.

Peter O’Toole (00:28:26):
So, so who’s fastest when it comes to running Karen

Karen Hogg (00:28:32):
B, I think that would still be Isabelle. So she’s currently 16. So I think she’s fastest, closely followed by John then Rebecca and I’m I do lag behind, but I’m not terribly slow.

Derek Davies (00:28:47):
Must be something in the air at York isn’t it. Cause I see pizza professional runner,

Peter O’Toole (00:28:51):
No, not professional. And we get paid to do it.

Derek Davies (00:28:56):
I was doing a little bit of running during lockdown, but then I broke the bike out instead. So I go cycling now that counts as my exercise.

Peter O’Toole (00:29:03):
But you did you not do one of the very first London marathon?

Derek Davies (00:29:08):
I did do the 1983 London marathon. I think one marathon is enough for anyone. And that was the third, the third London marathon days. When you had to queue up at a post office overnight to post your application and then hope you’re one of the first 20,000 that got in

Karen Hogg (00:29:25):
How many marathons have you managed to do this Pete now?

Peter O’Toole (00:29:29):
I just in training one a month, at least. Yeah. So I would say that that that’s going well and an ultra here and there. So it did 53 miles was the longest run this year, which sounds dreadful, but actually the most enjoyable thing because you do just eat cake throughout it, without any guilt, you just eat no flapjacks, tiffin, cakes, all sorts of stuff. You wouldn’t usually Crisps. It’s just like a party.

Karen Hogg (00:29:58):
You get somebody to deliver your pizza halfway round.

Peter O’Toole (00:30:02):
We weren’t going to do a 24 hour run, which got postponed. And yeah, we’d be looking at pizzas. We were looking at soups. We were looking at all sorts of things and we’d have had the families there. So that would have been that’s that’s my advice. That’s my get out. I meet a friend on a Saturday morning. We just run for three, four hours, maybe a bit more sometimes just, it’s just, just good fun. Just really,

Derek Davies (00:30:25):
All too energetic for me at my age,

Peter O’Toole (00:30:29):
But okay. So what is that two energetic? So what’s this one then Derek, it’s a picture of you holding a cup? Well,

Derek Davies (00:30:35):
Unfortunately it’s not, it’s not my cup, but one of the things that I have done for many, many years is support our local football team or soccer team. Those Americans who happens to be watching, which is Carshalton athletic now Carshalton is in south London and that’s after our team won or the the Kanzi cup a few years ago. So you can see that we don’t look maybe the best there, but it was a good evening. That was the first time we’d ever won that cup.

Peter O’Toole (00:31:01):
Did you say a few years ago?

Derek Davies (00:31:03):
It was a few years ago. How,

Peter O’Toole (00:31:05):
How many is a few Derek? I’m looking at your house.

Derek Davies (00:31:10):
That was one right about 25 years ago. Maybe

Peter O’Toole (00:31:14):
That’s a few years.

Karen Hogg (00:31:16):
It’s not a few decades yet.

Peter O’Toole (00:31:19):
I haven’t even worked that long ago.

Derek Davies (00:31:21):
Yeah, but th this is my relaxation. I take my, my boys. I’ve got three boys. We, we all go down to watch Carshalton athletic who are in the, what in the UK is called non-league football. So, you know, we have very many grades of football. So Pete, I know you’re a Manchester United fan. Well, we, well, we to run win promotions six years in a row, we will be facing Manchester United. So now we’re quite low down the pyramid, but I, I I’m this for multiple years, 40 odd years, I’ve supported Carshalton. And one of the reasons why I keep going is because it’s a, it’s a very family atmosphere. You know, we get crowds of about four or 500, you know, virtually everybody, there’s no seating. You can move around, you can get a drink. And so I’ve enjoyed. Doctrinated my children now they’re all Carshalton fans.

Peter O’Toole (00:32:08):
It looks like

Derek Davies (00:32:10):
Alison brought all her things along. This is a replica Carshalton shirts. I’m a grown man in a replica shirts every other Saturday.

Peter O’Toole (00:32:19):
Brilliant. I mean, I suppose your, your boys have both got one.

Derek Davies (00:32:22):
Yeah. They’ve all got one. My, my eldest does stewarding down there as well. So you can call us when you’ve got something to keep you occupied.

Peter O’Toole (00:32:31):
That, that, that’s, that’s really cool that my boys all follow Man u, but my dad also followed Man u and yes, it’s a family inheritance and yes, I supported them in the early eighties. When trust me, we were not top of the league, but that’s a Karen do you support any teams.

Karen Hogg (00:32:50):
No, I’m not really a sports follower for media TV or anything like that. I like doing a lot of sport, you know, skiing, running, cycling, walking, sailing, but I’ve never really been one for following it on the television or the media I’ve tried. I did try, but just didn’t work for me.

Peter O’Toole (00:33:13):
So you both, you both got quite dynamic outside work activities. That would sound, I think, I think if I was watching and listening to you both now, I’d be thinking if this sounds fantastic, then what motivates you to go to work? You both said that you actually enjoy work and being in the lab and being at conferences, what actually, what gets you up in the morning to go to work?

Karen Hogg (00:33:36):
I think for me, it’s that want to push the schedule on for the, for the science, for the users and to feel like you’re an important part of that work that needs to be done to, you know, move, move that research online might not be the main player in the group, but if I don’t go and make sure that the instruments are fit for purpose or help them get that set up right, then it’s not going to be as good as it can be. And so you feel like your, I suppose, in a way you feel like you needed. And that’s a nice thing to feel like in the, in the morning that, you know, you’re, somebody is not, they’re not relying on you because they could do some of it themselves, but it would be better if you were there. And so you felt that you, you want to go and play your part.

Derek Davies (00:34:27):
Yeah. I think it goes back to what I was saying earlier about everyday being, being different. There’s always something going on, especially now that I’m sort of moved into training full time, developing new courses and so on. Not just in flow cytometry, but in other technologies, no one day is the same, you know, and I like to think I’m also occasionally still needed in the lab as well. So it would be terrible if you got up every morning and think. Oh, no same old thing again.

Peter O’Toole (00:34:52):
So today’s needs you said you, you role’s moved into training, but it’s not just training it’s information, it’s networking and, and flow cytometry. UK is UK initiative that, that sort of compliments the RMS. It compliments what ISAC has, but you have one of the main protagonist behind getting that up and moving forward, Derek, and you always had a mailing list, which at that that’s kind of rolled into now, why, what motivated, what, where did your energy come from to think? Well, do you know what we’ve got an unsolved problem here, I’m going to solve it. And I’m going to bring people on board with me. Yeah.

Derek Davies (00:35:30):
Well, I think there’s go first. Flow Cytometry UK was formed in 2006, but I think the decade before that as well, there sort of a bit of a need to pull everything together. So we had lots of local flow groups. We had the London flow group. I think you had one up in, in Yorkshire as well for a while. There’s there was one in the east of England when it’s Scotland and they’re all acting sort of independently. And the idea of flow cytometry UK was we tried to pull all that together at the very least a focal point where people could understand where these meetings were going to be and who was running them. But the idea of having a mailing list that now goes out to about 700 people, not just in the UK, but mainland Europe and beyond as well, which gets people information at their fingertips. So jobs, courses, meetings, questions, even, you know, it’s a good, it’s a good place to ask, maybe more local questions that you might not ask on the global Purdue list, for example. So you could find out somebody else, who’s got a particular reagent in London and yeah, the motivation for that is it didn’t exist. So let’s, let’s make it

Peter O’Toole (00:36:32):
That you needed to do, but there’s a lot of things that don’t take safety, need someone to step up to the plate and, and drive it through or to realize what’s needed. And to reenact that I know you brought a lot of us on board to get that going. Absolutely.

Derek Davies (00:36:45):
It’s never, it’s never a one man band is it. You have to bring people in who have the right strengths and the right skills to, to push things forward and then flow cytometry. UK now also runs a yearly meeting that those don’t run by one person. Obviously we have the RMS to help us with the logistics, but we need people to bring in the cytometry as well. So also that that’s a good, good aspect for other people to put on their CV,S. Isn’t it I’ve helped organize a scientific meeting. And that’s part of our job is to bring the next generation in.

Karen Hogg (00:37:15):
I think there’s been good solution finders, you know, through our jobs, we’re constantly having to find solutions. And if you see something that’s not quite right, we’re quite, excuse me. We’re quite good at thinking about what’s the solution. And if that means you need to do something well, I don’t know how we sometimes create the time to do it, but just try and get on and find the right people to, to move that forward in the right way.

Peter O’Toole (00:37:41):
Yeah. This is very easily listening at the moment because you are both very positive, optimistic, happy people, but there has to have been a time.

Derek Davies (00:37:51):
I was going to say, that’s just in my work life, but that’s

Peter O’Toole (00:38:08):
Still nearly full. Your glass is bigger than mine, Derek. One up manship, very competitive. So they’ve always been despite all this positive side, I think actually working in a core facility, you have to be proactive and you have to be a positive friendly person, but there’s always challenging times at work. So can you think of an example when you found things at work most challenging or why you found time at work most challenging for maybe start with Karen on that one?

Karen Hogg (00:38:38):
I think challenging for me has been at work when I’ve not been able to deliver something that was expected mainly due to it, maybe an instrument fault or some technical issues with connections or saving data. And then it’s having to admit to the user, that’s relying on you to provide the goods that you can’t. And that is only happens very occasionally, that you just feel awful. And, but it’s how you react to the situation and how you then move on from it, how you remembered. And it’s learning that process and how to do it in a way that doesn’t destroy you. And then that you rebuild the confidence with the user is then the positive spin out from that. And it doesn’t happen very often, fortunately touch wood, and I am touching wood, but that’s really challenging. And it really gets me personally. And you have to take stock, realize what it is and move on and it’s hot.

Peter O’Toole (00:39:41):
Well, I, I Karen that sounds like a very fresh memory. I think I know one example where that happened, which is inexplicable, that it was no fault of the instrument, no fault to the lab. It was just one of those things that happened. It can be upsetting Derek,

Derek Davies (00:40:02):
But I think, you know, you’ll, you’ll lab is quite big. The critical lab is quite big. And I think when you have a big lab, you’re a little bit more and you have a little bit more insurance so that when things go wrong, then you know, if one machine goes down and you can move people at back, I think the, the problems that I’ve the worst problems I’ve had over the years is when I was starting off. And when the lab was much smaller. And of course this is the normal situation for a lot of people. So due to people leaving, I suddenly found myself with two of us in a lab that had seven or eight cytometers. So trying to deliver a service to everybody who wanted to use those with two people is very challenging. Even if the machines are working perfectly the whole time, it’s all about time management and making sure that you can prioritize your work and the, and the user’s needs.

Peter O’Toole (00:40:51):
So what about when things are difficult to at home and you still got to turn up for work and do your work side of things, and how, how does that work? How, how do you manage that side of things?

Karen Hogg (00:41:07):
So for me, fortunately, because we have quite a big team and there’s redundancy within the staff roles, if I need an extra half hour, then, you know, sometimes I can ask for it and get it. But personally I manage it by the traveling. So I’ve got a 40 minute commute. And so if things have gone a bit pear shaped in the morning, which I think they do in many households with the families then you know, I’ve got the space between the house and the workplace. And that little bit of space in the car can sometimes be really useful for getting my head in the right page for then, you know, delivering the goods or goods at work. So the commuting can be a nightmare, but it actually, sometimes it can provide a little bit of assistance for the day.

Peter O’Toole (00:41:56):
You’re Painting a picture of commuting, like on a train or really busy road. And there you are rolling up the countryside like postman, pat, it’s Riding on a good day.

Karen Hogg (00:42:06):
I think the M64 can be a little bit more than a rural or country road. Sometimes it can be a little bit tricky, but

Peter O’Toole (00:42:17):
Scenery there and you’re complaining,

Karen Hogg (00:42:19):
It is beautiful, particularly when I take the route over through Castle Howard and over the Howardian Hills in the autumn where the changes of the color and the trees are just absolutely stunning. And so that is really good to see on your journey to work. And the Poppies is in the field as you know, just amazing in, in the late summer as well,

Derek Davies (00:42:39):
Different pictures for those of us who commute from suburban London to the center and the windshield where it’s completely black when you leave home or when you get back home and all you see is inside of a train.

Peter O’Toole (00:42:52):
Yeah. I, I think both of you suffer with tourists as well, because obviously in London, you’re going to be full of tourists who are not going to get any particular direction when you’re trying to walk into work and Karen, you work, part-time just not much part time anymore. It’s pretty full on, but you would always avoid Friday afternoons because of the traffic going to the countryside and go into the Sikh coast past yours is obviously one to avoid.

Karen Hogg (00:43:20):
Yeah, certainly when I went part time, losing Fridays was a very much, and the choice for me mainly by the commute to traffic to the tourist areas at Scarborough Pickering and the moors because it just felt from about half past three onwards. And it would take so long to get home in the summertime, but it did always give me a long weekend, which was an added bonus. So you,

Peter O’Toole (00:43:45):
You chose to go part-time to really, to balance your work life side of things with having children. And you wanted to have that time with your children as well, but do you think that going part-time has impacted your career at all?

Karen Hogg (00:44:00):
I don’t think it has. And that’s partly because of where I work and I think we’re, we do as my line manager and boss, I think you’ve seen the benefit in keeping the right staff in place in the right post and building the team to cope with having that ability for redundancy within the staff role.

Peter O’Toole (00:44:23):
Flexibility sounds so much better than redundancy

Karen Hogg (00:44:25):
Flexibility yes. So I know, and I think that that was, that was important. And, I don’t think it has at all. UI think I’ve been a happier person by being able to go part-time and if you’re happier at home, then you work better at work as well. So it’s, it’s been a win-win for me. And I think that it suited the lab and that the flexibility within the team has meant that we’ve all been able to yeah. Be happy and deliver the goods.

Derek Davies (00:44:56):
I think it’s important to build a team by that in a big facilitator, to make sure that you have people that you can trust to fill in the parts of your job, somebody is going to fill in for every part of it. And the communication has changed as well as in recent years. And you mentioned traveling into work. It’s very easy. Now, you don’t get surprised when you get in, because somebody has told you WhatsApp and email are very easily accessible on the train. Nothing’s a surprise when you get in and you can hit the ground running.

Peter O’Toole (00:45:25):
I think Karen also made an important point is it’s always the best person for the job. And, you know, I was more than aware that Karen was hoping to start a family when, when we took Karen on. And I know you’re not meant to consider that, but I was very aware of it, but Karen was the best person for the job and proven to be the best person for the job. And if we’d have taken someone else at that time, we’d have had someone not as good, not as expert for this period of time. And it’s clearly beneficial to have the best person, regardless of circumstances, because in the long run, it’s always the best decision. It was the best decision in the short term. And the long-term actually has created us more of opportunities when she went part-time because we could get someone else in and grow the lab and they then went part-time and we could grow the lab. Let’s say it’s been a fantastic opportunity actually, to grab the best people at the right time, Derek, we didn’t get you. What you, you talked about the flexibility and the level of what have you, do you have any dark moments in the lab or the most challenging period of your career?

Derek Davies (00:46:33):
Well, I’ll go back to those. It’s the changeover periods, isn’t it? It’s when you, when you got trusted and experienced people leaving. So suddenly you’ve got a a pressure point that you’ve got to replace those skills, or you’ve got to do them yourself. And certainly the move to the CRICK was very stressful. Although it was obviously worked out very well and it was interesting and exciting. There was obviously pressure again, there to get things done by particular times, there’s a very fixed timeline in the, in the move to the new building. So everything had to be on time and yeah, it was, it was tricky, but you come through these things and you learn from them as well.

Peter O’Toole (00:47:15):
Some of the most exciting times are the most stressful times. I think we can take from that, that message of moving too quick, very stressful, but fun, exciting. And ultimately

Derek Davies (00:47:26):
The, at the end justifies the means, I suppose. Okay.

Karen Hogg (00:47:29):
So Pete What do you, think’s been the hardest time for, for you working with us then in the period of time, since you took over, what would you say for, what would your be perspective about the,

Peter O’Toole (00:47:41):
I think in the flow cytometry world was, was sorter problems and, you know, we do have precious, precious, precious, precious, ethical samples that we handle. And if that sort of doesn’t go right, you know, at that, that that’s quite a high consequence of that sort not going. Right. And when you go back to the user and say, I’m sorry, I have, I’ve got a fraction of the cells that you need because the sorter hasn’t worked properly. Yeah. Even if it’s not our fault, it still, yeah. Physically upsetting. So I think those early days was very stressful of setting up the lab and getting it running that, yeah, that’s probably the most painful memory I have and I joke a lot. And so in, in, in crisis, I will joke, I also learned that some users don’t like it when you joke in a crisis and, and it’s being seen as flippant and it’s kinda my defense mechanisms. So you have to really know the person to get a measure of them. Cause they may also appreciate a bit of humor in a dark moment to just kind of make some light relief, even though we know the seriousness of it. But in some people that don’t get that humor, I learned that very rapidly too. And that’s more of upsetting that they get upset. And I, yeah, that, that, that was my Worst

Derek Davies (00:49:04):
Most important with, with some users is to always leave them with some hope, because we’ve all had experiments with our users that have completely failed for whatever reason, but be able to point out, you know, this is why it failed. This is what we’ll do next time and everything will be okay. So leading with that positive message,

Karen Hogg (00:49:23):
I think it’s understanding your audience and managing expectations is also part of what we do even without realizing it to sort of make sure that, you know, everybody leaves the room fairly happy. Yeah.

Peter O’Toole (00:49:42):
Yeah. And these data cell sorting when people accompany their samples, you’d hear all their, all their troubles on that. Sometimes they’re tears are flowing faster than the the sorter droplets. So today we’re dark moments go on what’s been the funniest moment you’ve had in the lab. It doesn’t have to be in the lab in the work work environment. So it could be a conference. Of course it could, but work related. What’s the funniest moment you’ve had, I’ll start with you Derek. I’m not

Derek Davies (00:50:14):
Sure I could pick a funniest moment. I think, you know, if I think about all the conferences that we’ve had over the years, I think we’ve had some fantastic evenings. I’m not sure I could pick out one anecdote, but I remember laughing uncontrollably on several, several occasions and I think that’s not necessarily flow related, but it’s, it’s the it’s those connections that we’re talking about earlier that you have with people, it becomes much more personal and you ended up having a good time in a work environment.

Karen Hogg (00:50:40):
But I think conferences the funniest moment, or one of the most memorable moments I can think of is when we were was it at Glasgow at cyto? And we had the Ceilidh at the closing ceremony. And then at the end, we all sang Auld Lang Syne in a big circle. And that, that was really good fun actually I really enjoyed that. And the funniest moment in the lab, I think probably would be, it didn’t happen to me. It was when we were doing some analysis work on some bovine sperm samples. And you have the sample in a straw in liquid nitrogen and sometimes the opening of the straw doesn’t quite go according to plan. Now, if you’re lucky, it expels the sample into the beaker not into your face or hair, which happened to one of our colleagues. And so we joked that it was a new novel hair conditioner or hair style that maybe won’t catch off or be commercially viable, but it gave us all a good giggle.

Peter O’Toole (00:51:48):
Oh, actually, Karen bizarrely. It was one of those. When Harry met, Something about Mary? Was it that moment with the flick? But not only that, actually they were that the straws were being sold as a perfect protein hair conditioner. One of the place, I think Chester or London, one or two places, it was actually a commercial product and we never charged that person for his free hair conditioning. That’s a classic moment in that you’ve had nothing go wrong or funny like that in the lab. Derek you must have done.

Derek Davies (00:52:23):
I must’ve done but I can’t recall anything like that. I did once open my my sorter to find two cockroaches in there grief that cockroaches can survive anything. I think the a 4,000 voltage across the plates, was nothing to them

Peter O’Toole (00:52:38):
See at half the beetles in there then. Yeah. Thinking of which looking back again, what would you rather do? Watch your film or read a book. Karen,

Karen Hogg (00:52:53):
Watch a film,

Peter O’Toole (00:52:55):

Derek Davies (00:52:55):
Read a book. I don’t have the attention span to watch film.

Peter O’Toole (00:53:00):
Okay. I don’t have the attention span to read a book takes more concentration. Okay. So Karen TV or film.

Karen Hogg (00:53:10):
Audio book,

Peter O’Toole (00:53:17):
I’ve just got a sympathy from everyone now thinking, and I have to work with that. Derek called about you TV film. It’s gotta be TV, I guess

Derek Davies (00:53:26):
That’d be TV. Yes. A lot. I don’t watch a lot of TV. So

Peter O’Toole (00:53:30):
What’s your TV? Vice

Derek Davies (00:53:32):
TV. Oh, I think we’ve talked about this before. Pete. I’m a big fan of Gogglebox. It’s one of those programs that shouldn’t really work. Should it watching people watching television?

Peter O’Toole (00:53:42):
Yeah. So for anyone who doesn’t know what Gogglebox is, you are literally watching there are cameras on the people watching TV programs throughout the week and seeing what their opinions are. And it, it really is the trashiest concept that works so brilliantly. Well, I

Derek Davies (00:53:57):
Think it’s great because it’s quite life-affirming. I think everybody on there is it shows that people are actually quite sensible

Peter O’Toole (00:54:04):
And there is. Yeah. And they show different walks of life, but they all have that same similar identities you can go with. And actually it’s a great way to catch up on a week’s TB without having to watch TV.

Karen Hogg (00:54:16):
If given the opportunity though, Pete, would you be a subject of Gogglebox?

Peter O’Toole (00:54:21):
Actually, I would like to be the subject. So someone watching Gogglebox, because how often do you comment when you’re watching Gogglebox and those that are commenting don’t you do daily. So let’s bring it back. Another loop on that. Yeah, it does. You do tend to comment, but I think if you watch TV by yourself, you don’t comment much, but when you watch people and commentate commenting you comment as well, which brings us back to training courses in a way that one of the best secrets is to get people talking once one or two talk, everyone joins in and getting everyone to feel. And that’s where the social aspect also helps. So I’m sure Gogglebox in the UK is on a Friday night and I’m sure Derek wine or beer at that point.

Derek Davies (00:55:06):
That’d be wine on a Friday night.

Peter O’Toole (00:55:08):
Red wine on a Friday night. Karen?

Karen Hogg (00:55:11):
Yeah, definitely red wine.

Peter O’Toole (00:55:13):
Yeah. Actually I’m also red wine on a Friday. So yes, he’s Gogglebox with a glass of red wine. Karen you watch Gogglebox don’t you

Karen Hogg (00:55:19):
Occasionally not, not always.

Peter O’Toole (00:55:22):
I think nine o’clock is the time to stop thinking about work on a Friday. And it is just, you don’t have to think. It’s lovely just to relax to

Derek Davies (00:55:33):
Saturday. I don’t think about work at all. That’s the one day though, that completely free.

Peter O’Toole (00:55:39):
Yeah. It depends on what’s going on. So weekends, you try to keep fairly clear, but it’ll always encroach a bit. You don’t want to start Monday morning with too much. So you kind of get some bits and certainly Sunday afternoons, you start to kick into gear again, say to myself, yeah.

Karen Hogg (00:55:54):
It’s when you see the notifications on your phone and the email and you think, oh, well I could really do with thoughts in that thing out. It can’t wait.

Peter O’Toole (00:56:02):
So we need to time. So I’m gonna ask what’s the most proud moment of your careers to date

Karen Hogg (00:56:12):
The RMS flow medal? I was really, I was really pleased and proud.

Peter O’Toole (00:56:17):
I forgot to put it up earlier, I

Karen Hogg (00:56:19):
Wasn’t sure about it when I first heard that I’d been awarded it. But when I thought about it and saw the number of people that worked the conference that I’d taught or helped or advised or spoken to, and I thought, no, I’m, I’m happy with this. I’m really, really pleased. Not the size. Definitely delighted to get all that really

Peter O’Toole (00:56:38):
Ill when you, when you were awarded that medal. But I still went and left. Cause, cause I was just so ill on that night, I just had to get home again.

Peter O’Toole (00:56:49):
Yes, I didn’t realize I’d had the flu, the Tropic flu flu flu influenza flu come back from, is it Singapore come back from and didn’t realize I’d had it. And yeah, in hindsight you look back and go, oh yes, that’s what the flu is. Then that’s pretty bad. It’s not so nice. Derek. What about yourself?

Derek Davies (00:57:07):
If something similar, I should have sent you the photo in that beautiful last night, I got the ISAC membership award, which is one of those things that’s sort of voted for by your peers, which is a good affirmation. I think that you’ve done something right,

Peter O’Toole (00:57:21):
Like that voting for you then

Derek Davies (00:57:23):
Something like that. Yes. That’s not an ISAC meeting. That’s actually in the house of commons. So an

Peter O’Toole (00:57:28):
ISAC is better than being in the house of commons.

Derek Davies (00:57:30):
I think. So I’ve got a plaque.

Peter O’Toole (00:57:32):
So I think that as well deserved for both of you and your contributions to Isaac and flow cytometry in general, Derek have been second to none. Karen forging ahead with the various commitments courses around the world, the commitments to Africa across both of you. It’s these are really important initiatives as well. So before we get too serious, I’ve got to ask you. It’s always good, fun this bit. What is your best science joke? And if you haven’t got a good science joke, just what’s your best joke. Keep them clean.

Derek Davies (00:58:02):
I don’t have a science joke, but I can tell you my youngest, my youngest son’s favorite joke. Knock, knock joke, knock, knock.

Peter O’Toole (00:58:09):
Who’s there.

Derek Davies (00:58:10):

Peter O’Toole (00:58:12):
Europe. Who.

Derek Davies (00:58:13):
No you are.

Peter O’Toole (00:58:13):
Oh, goodness sake. Ah, you voted for Brexit then.

Derek Davies (00:58:23):
Not sure he knows what that is, but when you’re, seven or eight, that tickles you

Peter O’Toole (00:58:29):
Hey, I like that joke that’s fairly. Hey Karen,

Karen Hogg (00:58:33):
I haven’t got any, I’m just going to say, go with the flow when we just leave it at that.

Peter O’Toole (00:58:40):
I’m glad you didn’t say it was just me. Karen is your favor. Your favorite joke is me. That that would have been a good put down at the end.

Karen Hogg (00:58:48):
I don’t need to think of the jokes with you around Pete

Peter O’Toole (00:58:52):
Every day is a fun day or was it just a pun day? I’m not sure which so one last question technology has moved forward to Flow Cytometry has moved forward. What’s wrong with it? What’s the next big step.

Derek Davies (00:59:09):
You put that question in for the last minute or 30 seconds. So there’s Pete. We could’ve started with that and not finish now.

Peter O’Toole (00:59:15):
Tactically, keep it short. What needs to be solved at the beginning?

Derek Davies (00:59:19):
You know, the flow cytometry itself has not basically changed, that’s it? But I suppose the main thing is that we still can’t detect down to the level of sensitivity that we’d like to, and that’s where we need to move in the next few years, whether that’s with spectrum flow cytometry or whether it’s using different detectors. We’ll see.

Peter O’Toole (00:59:38):
Yeah. And it’s that sensitivity because of the heterogeneity of the biology. That’s a problem. So I tend

Derek Davies (00:59:44):
To consider, I first started off looking at one color and that’s all I needed and that’s great if you’ve got Virginia’s population, but actually everybody doesn’t deal with that.

Peter O’Toole (00:59:53):
So we need a stunningly bright pro that you can see one probe on a cell, but you still have to label it. And that’s far from ideal as well in some cases, Karen.

Karen Hogg (01:00:04):
Yeah, I think I’ll echo that. But also say that, you know, the reagents for some of the lasers that we have could be developed further. So we’ve got the, they think there’ll be some changes in that in the near future. So we’ve got like the 808 or the infrared lasers and the avalanche photo dyer detectors that are not being utilized as much as they could be at the moment. So it’d be interesting to see what comes out for that space.

Derek Davies (01:00:31):
I think it’s great that it’s still going to want to get these cells back aren’t we, so sorting is still going to be a big part of this

Peter O’Toole (01:00:40):
A few years ago, there were a handful of companies, not even a handful of companies that you’d really consider. And now there’s so many companies bringing out really new innovations that are all working towards these solving these problems. And we agents getting brighter as well. It’s a good place to be. I think we’ve got an Flow I think 10 years ago was fairly static. If I’m harsh, I think there’s a big wave and that wave is only going to get bigger. I don’t think it’s going to come crashing down anytime soon. And I think the single cell side puts flow at the S at the start of many other technologies as well, which is important. I

Karen Hogg (01:01:19):
Think the sorters is getting smaller, maybe more portable the microfluidics as well is going to change quite a lot in the next decade. So that’d be interesting to see how that space is filled.

Derek Davies (01:01:31):
We’ve never had something that’s been a huge quantum leap forward, but if you look back over the last 10 years, you’re saying things have changed quite a lot. Moved on a lot. Yeah.

Peter O’Toole (01:01:42):
Oh dear. Oh, on that note, we should finish Karen, Derek. Thank you very much. You’ve been brilliant to talk to. Thank you. Thanks. Bye Derek. Thank you.


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