UMASS Medical School / Kenyan Medical Research Institute Flow Cytometry Workshop Overview
The primary goal of this workshop was to strengthen the ongoing collaboration between the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) and the Center for Global Health Research within the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) located in Kisumu, Kenya. This was achieved by offering on-site (in Kenya) training in flow cytometry and analysis for the research scientists and students who work on UMMS projects as well as benefitting future students and UMMS collaborators in Kenya. Currently, KEMRI and UMMS have an ongoing partnership investigating immunity to infectious diseases, such as malaria and EBV, in pediatric populations (PI: Moormann NIH R01 CA134051). During the last two years of this collaboration, Dr. Moormann’s students and post- doc have traveled to UMMS to learn and apply more advanced techniques necessary to conduct multiparameter (> 4 color) flow cytometry that are essential to her research. This arrangement presents unique challenges since it not only involves Kenyan scientist traveling to the US and having to be here for months at a time but also requires viable blood samples to be shipped to the US under temperature sensitive conditions (-190°C) which is costly and time consuming.
In January 2011, the US Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), another KEMRI partner, purchased and installed an 8-color BD FACsCanto in Kisumu. This machine is available for use by any KEMRI collaborator working in Kisumu and the WRAIR will manage the service contract and employ a dedicated technician to maintain the quality control. However, training research scientists on how to maximize the use of this technology was needed. Therefore this flow cytometry workshop was very timely and welcome. The workshop was conducted over a five day period and structured as lectures in the morning and hands on instrument training in the afternoon for a subset of individuals. The practical application sessions were offered to UMMS-KEMRI scientists currently working on UMMS collaborative projects as well as a select group of scientists from other NIH-funded projects in Kisumu and investigators from WRAIR and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who are currently conducting a phase III malaria vaccine trial. Those selected for the afternoon sessions have had previous flow experience and benefitted the most from learning how to use the FACsCanto. Individual meetings were arranged to discuss ongoing and future projects within the UMMS-KEMRI collaboration, further refining which experiments can be conducted in Kenya and which would still require the use of the UMMS Flow Core Facility in the US. Dr. Moormann’s research also investigates the etiology of endemic Burkitt lymphoma, the most prevalent pediatric cancer in Kenya. Her future research will incorporate flow cytometry into oncology diagnostics and etiologic investigations.
2011 UMASS Medical School / Kenyan Medical Research Institute Flow Cytometry Workshop
I would like to thank the organizations and Investigators who made this workshop a success. I hope we can make this workshop in Flow Cytometry an annual event.
I know this workshop series will continue to enhance our research and our collaborative efforts.
UMASS Medical School Office of Global Health
UMASS Medical School Center for Aids Research
Kenyan Medical Research Institute
US Army Medical Research Institute