Andrew (Andy) Filby, PhD, director of the Newcastle University Flow Cytometry Core Facility (FCCF)
Case for election to ISAC Council
It is an honour and a privilege to be nominated by my peers to stand for election to the ISAC council. One of ISAC’s biggest strengths is the incredible diversity in the career paths of its membership. We comprise SRL staff, academic researchers, company representatives, pharmaceutical/CRO scientists, hardware/software engineers, and computational scientists. During my journey with cytometry I have worked in and with several of these sectors so can relate to the needs of our diverse membership. I willingly contribute my time and expertise to the ISAC/cytometry community through workshops, posters, talks and tutorials, not only at Cyto meetings, but at meetings and courses across the globe. Cytometry is my passion and I see it as my calling to support my fellow cytometrists in any way I can, and if elected I will bring this attitude with me to council.
The areas where I can make a difference:
- In my talk last year at the SRL forum in Boston, I said that SRL staff are expected to be “masters of all and jacks of none”, performing so many functions to very high standards.As part of the SRL community, I will continue to build on the great work already done at council level to define what we are, what we do and what we need to succeed.
- As a Cytometry Part A journal scholar, I want to develop defined paths that allow SRL staff to publish in the society journal. For me it is essential that SRL staff should have opportunity to initiate, maintain and grow a publication history for personal development.
- As a community we need to do more to support cytometry in places where resources are limited yet the challenges to human health are significant. I have been working on remote support solutions that will allow willing members of the ISAC community to support cytometrists in places where expertise is needed the most. I also think that ISAC should do more to lobby our commercial members to support cytometry in these geographical locations.
- I would like to see the development of a “scholars” track for those ISAC members that work for commercial companies. They often develop the tools that are the foundation of our field and the society should recognise this formally.
- I would like to see more outreach/engagement with the research fields that rely heavily on cytometry. This will help to foster ISAC’s relationship with these disciplines and cement our position as the leading society in cellular analysis. It will enable us to lead the way in “best practices” for data generation and analysis and play key roles in projects like the Human Cell Atlas (HCA).
- At present there is a mentoring scheme for ISAC scholars/ELs, however I would like to explore a way to extend the mentoring scheme to all interested “early career” members of ISAC.
I began my journey with Cytometry in 1999 during a 1 year industrial placement at Syngenta developing assays to measure cytokines by intracellular staining using a BD FACS Calibur. This was my first exposure to flow cytometry and I was hooked! Flow cytometry continued to play a significant part in my research (life) as I completed my PhD and post-doctoral training at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in London focusing on cellular immunology. In 2007 I moved to the commercial sector working first for Thermo-Fisher and then for Amnis/Cronus supporting the ImageStream technology. In 2009 an amazing opportunity arose for me to work in the flow cytometry Shared Resource Laboratory (SRL) at the London Research Institute under the tutelage of Derek Davies. Within 1 year I had been promoted to deputy head. During this time I developed a number of novel cytometry assays that underpinned significant biological discoveries and won the best paper award in Cytometry Part A (2011). In 2014 I successfully applied to become a member of the SRL “Emerging Leaders” programme and in 2016 I was made a Cytometry Part A journal scholar. I have attended the last 6 consecutive Cyto meetings, organising at least one workshop per year and delivering a pre-congress tutorial at Cyto 2016 (Seattle). I serve on several ISAC committees including the imaging cytometry taskforce and the scientific communications committee. In 2015 I moved to Newcastle University to take over the directorship of the flow cytometry SRL. In this role I oversee the core service as well as drive an active programme of cytometry–focused method development. This has been highly successful and we delivered part of the first recognised published study from the Human Cell Atlas (HCA) initiative.
If I am elected to council then it will be my responsibility to be an ear and a voice for every single member of the ISAC family. It is essential that the council listen to the opinions, needs and concerns of all members so that it can be said the society is really acting in the interests of its members. As such, I will ask that a booth be set up in the exhibition area at each Cyto meeting manned by members of the council, scholars, ELs etc. so that anyone can come and share their thoughts about the society directly on a 1-1 basis.
Thank you for your time and your consideration
Dr Andrew Filby