The Annual Course in Cytometry is somewhat of an institution in its own right. This internationally recognized course has been held every year for the past 42 years at the University of New Mexico or at Bowdoin College in conjunction with Verity Software House, and Dagna Sheerar of the UWCCC Flow Cytometry Laboratory (Flow Lab) has sent 11 people through the course either in Maine or New Mexico. It came as no surprise that when a previous site fell through, Dagna and the Flow Lab stepped up to plan and host this course with less than six months before the course was set to begin. Attendees and instructors were worried that the quality of the course wouldn’t be the same as previous years, when time to plan was abundant. However, the Flow Lab successfully planned and hosted the 42nd Annual Course in Cytometry here at UW-Madison June 8-13th, and UW-Madison has been asked to be a permanent third site for this course. Those at the course commented that a Flow Core has never been involved with hosting a course before, and it made a difference. The facility had all the resources participants and instructors could have wanted.
This year, 58 participants from all over the country attended the course led by 30 instructors. All the instructors are important players in the Flow community including Joe Trotter, known as the grandfather of flow cytometry; David Hedley, who pioneered real-time phosflow assays in cancer patients; Fred Preffer, Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School; Paul Wallace, who runs both the research and clinical flow cytometry labs at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Rochester; Bill Telford, at the National Cancer Institute Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch; and Joanne Lannigan, an expert in extracellular vesicle research who recently retired from managing the Flow Cytometry core at the University of Virginia. The course consisted of 22 lectures, including a keynote by UW’s own Aleks Stanic-Kostic, 15 labs (of which the participants could choose 5), and several fun events for the participants to take part in. A particularly well-loved lab was the Build a Flow Cytometer lab. Participants also enjoyed seeing a Mallards game and interacting with all the vendors at Sponsor’s Night.
Even though the Flow Lab was hosting the event, they also learned a lot. One of the Flow lab staff members was asked to assist in Joe Trotter’s sorting lab, and another was able to attend the course fully as a participant. While Dagna and another Flow Lab staff member, Lauren Nettenstrom, planned the course, the rest of the staff stepped up to keep the Flow Lab running smoothly. They were able to see how much they are capable of doing in such a short period of time, and they look forward to hosting the course again in 2022!