About Our History

The Beginning

The decision to form a Society for analytical cytology grew out of a series of Engineering Foundation Conferences on Automated Cytology. During the fifth conference, held from December 12-17,1976 in Pensacola, Florida, the attendees agreed that the formation of a Society would provide professional continuity to the field and promote the continuation of the conference series, which had been very successful.

As a result, the organizing committee of the sixth conference, held in Schloss Elmau, Bavaria, Germany, in 1978 (see photo), was empowered to create the Society with the following purpose:

  • To promote research, development, and applications in analytical cytometry. Analytical cytometry is broadly defined as the characterization and measurement of cells and cellular constituents for biological, diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. It embraces components of cytochemistry, cytophysics, anatomy, biology, physiology, pathology, image analysis, instrumentation, clinical laboratory practice and other subjects of relevance.
  • To facilitate integration of the many disciplines within analytical cytometry.
  • To disseminate knowledge of analytical cytometry.
  • To provide information and advice on those aspects of public policy which are concerned with analytical cytometry.

The officers and councilors of the new Society were:

President: Mortimer L. Mendelsohn
President-Elect: Myron R. Melamed
Honorary Past President: Thomas M. Jovin
Secretary/Treasurer: L. Scott Cram
Editor: Brian H. Mayall
Councilors: Peter H. Bartels, J.S. Ploem, Mack J. Fulwyler, James H. Tucker, Klaus Goerttler, Marvin A. Van Dilla, Paul Mullaney, Leon L. Wheeless, Ian T. Young

The proposed constitution and bylaws were approved by a wide margin and became official in early 1979. The Society was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation on October 6, 1980. The Council decided to hold the first Society meeting under the sponsorship of the Engineering Foundation, which turned out to be the last conference the foundation sponsored. The Society sponsored its own conference for the first time in 1981 in Wentworth, New Hampshire, and has done so ever since.

As interest in the Society grew it became the International Society for Analytical Cytology (ISAC), and in 2006 was renamed the International Society for Advancement of Cytometry.


ISAC has a worldwide membership of more than 1,900 scientists, researchers, educators, clinicians and students from across a wide variety of disciplines and professional backgrounds. Though our largest demographic comes from within the United States, international members represent roughly half of our membership and that number has grown steadily in the 21st century. 

ISAC Past Presidents

Paul K. Wallace - Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
Andreas Radbruch - Deutsches Rheuma-Forschungszentrum Berlin
John P. Nolan - La Jolla Bioengineering Institute
Paul J. Smith - Cardiff University
Robert F. Murphy - Carnegie Mellon University
J. Paul Robinson - Purdue University
Maria Pallavicini - University of California Merced
Harry Crissman - Los Alamos National Laboratory
Lisa Staiano-Coico - Temple University
James Watson - Cambridge University
Joe W. Gray - Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Francesco Mauro - ENEA Environ Department
Zbigniew Darzynkiewicz - New York Medical College
Barton L. Gledhill - Lawrence Livermore National Lab
Ole Didrik Laerum - Univ of Bergen Haukeland Hospital, Gade Institute
Kenneth Ault - Maine Medical Center
L. Scott Cram - Los Alamos National Laboratory
Donna Arndt-Jovin - Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry
Paul Karl Horan - Zynaxis Cell Science, Inc.
Leon L. Wheeless - University of Rochester Medical Center
Paul Mullaney - Oakridge National Laboratory
Myron R. Melamed - New York Medical College
Tom Jovin - Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry

Our vision is to advance the impact of cytometry in meeting current and emerging challenges in the life, biomedical, and physical sciences.

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