ISAC E-NEWS – March 2005
by Maria Pallavicini
It is important to every organization to look to the future and ISAC is no exception. ISAC last carried out a strategic planning process in May 2001. The process and outcome of the 2001 planning retreat were summarized in ISAC Strategic Plan: Tasks and Tactics.
During the two-day planning process, ISAC's mission was redefined and a number of areas in which to move ISAC forward were identified. Many focused on the emerging areas of cytomics and systems biology. While a number of the recommendations from the Strategic Plan have been carried out over the last four years, many were not. While areas to build strength were identified, there was no prioritization or financial analysis, forecasts or targets. Importantly, the leadership of the organization has changed over the past four years, bringing new perspectives to bear. Furthermore, science has evolved over the last four years, and ISAC needs to position itself to capture the targets of opportunity presented by the new developments in the field of analytical cytology.
As a result, the Executive Committee has recommended that we carry out a follow-up strategic planning process based on a more comprehensive set of data and allow more involvement of the ISAC "stakeholders." Over the next few months, ISAC members such as you and other scientists in the field will be asked to respond to survey questions designed to address your perception about the opportunities and challenges facing ISAC. I urge you to take the time to respond when asked for your input.
The strategic planning process and retreat are being facilitated by Stefan Ogrodzinski of Ogrodzinski Consultants. Stefan has been involved with ISAC for a number of years and is very familiar with ISAC’s structure. The Strategic Planning retreat will be held immediately prior to the Interim Council meeting in May 2005. I will be reporting to you regarding the outcome of this strategic planning process in an upcoming issue of ISAC E-News. As always, please feel free to e-mail me with any questions or concerns.
ISAC Congress 2006 – Update #2
by Paul Robinson
Well it’s now only 15 months and before you know it, you will be putting the abstract deadline on your calendar! The 23rd Congress of the International Society for Analytical Cytology will be held 20-24 May 2006. In the next few weeks you will receive the first mailing. Please put that postcard in a prominent place in your lab. If you would like a poster to place in your lab, your corridor or department notice board, there will soon be an opportunity to have one sent to you. You will find this on the congress Web site in a few weeks when the program is more mature at www.isac2006.com.
There will be a multilab members discount for the 2006 congress. When more than two people from the same lab (not the same institution) are registered there will be substantial discounts. We want you to bring as many as you can to give them a taste of this interdisciplinary science of cytometry. However, remember to budget for the congress now -- ask your department head, dean or manager to commit NOW -- they are far more likely to say yes when the meeting is 15 months away, than when you are already into the financial year.
Try to identify some folks in your institution who would benefit from an introductory course and the opportunity to meet the experts in the field.
ISAC Exhibition Center
ISAC will be exhibiting at its own congress! This will be an opportunity for many new members to see what ISAC does -- it does much more than run a congress. That is just the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps many of you don’t know of the many activities and opportunities available to you.
More new ideas and activities will be highlighted in the next issue of ISAC E-News.
Reports from ISAC Committees and Task Force
Data Standards Task Force
by James Wood
Update on the FCS 3.0 Data File Format
At the ISAC XXII meeting in Montpellier, France, the Data Standards Committee met to make a few corrections and additions to the FCS 3.0 data file format standard. As a result of these changes the current data file format will be FCS 3.1. Briefly, the changes follow.
The corrections include replacing the keywords $UNICODE and $COMP. Both of these keywords were not defined adequately. The $UNICODE keyword will be deleted and all keyword text values will be written in UTF-8 Unicode format.
The $COMP keyword used to define the compensation matrix will be replaced by a new keyword $SPILLOVER.
A new keyword, $PnD, was added to designate the suggested display scale for parameter n. This keyword was added to accommodate the use of display scales besides the traditionally used linear and logarithmic scales.
A more detailed explanation of these changes is being submitted to Cytometry for publication in an upcoming issue.
Future of Data Standards in Cytometry
Publication in printed journals is still the primary means of sharing data in cytometry. Though journal publications have been the primary means of developing a peer-reviewed body of scientific knowledge, it is becoming increasing more difficult to present cytometry data and still preserve the full potential of the information contained in large multiparameter, multi-event data sets. A series of graphs only provides a summary snapshot of part of the information that may reside within a data set.
It is not uncommon for a laboratory to generate a significant fraction of a gigabyte of data in a single cytometry experiment. In order to preserve the full potential of the data set, the data set along with the necessary documentation of the full context of the experiment needs to be published electronically in a standard format. Thus data standards will be central to the advancement of cytometry by providing a means through which to develop of body of knowledge that preserves information contained in the data sets. This is not unlike the benefits already realized by sharing DNA sequence data.
The central role of data standards in managing and sharing large cytometry data will force the task force to look beyond simply defining a data file standard. Establishing standards for electronic publishing of the complete experiment context and data generated will be a significant part of our focus as a task force. This goes beyond simply defining a data file standard. It includes linking the description of the experimental context to the data sets, so that the data sets can be reanalyzed at a later date or by another laboratory. Also, the advancement of standard terminologies and associations will be required to facilitate the archival and retrieval of data sets.
When data is widely shared or maintained in a large database, the issues of data integrity, data security and data privacy need to be considered. It is important that the integrity of the data be preserved not only in storage and transfer but in its archival stage as well. When data is archived the requirements for data persistence needs to be addressed. The data must be stored in a format and on a media so that it can be retrieved at a later date. Data security and data privacy is particularly relevant to restricted data like data collected in a clinical setting or in the development of a pharmaceutical. For example, in the United States there are federal laws that govern storage, security and integrity requirements for clinical information (e.g., HIPAA, CLIA, CMS) and for manufacturers of clinical products (e.g., 21 CFR). These are general requirements. Specific requirements for cytometry have not been defined. The Data Standards Task Force will be looking into these issues as well and publishing recommendations.
It is not possible to achieve these goals from within the task force alone. We will be actively soliciting the input and support from the manufacturers of cytometry instrumentation, software and reagents, and commercial, institutional and clinical users of cytometry technologies. We will also seek the input of governmental agencies including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and national institutes developing shared data resources. So far we have received positive responses from the few organizations we have contacted to date. If your organization would like to participate by providing input and/or support you are encouraged to e-mail the chair of the task force.
Once we have developed a consensus of the requirements and a development plan, we will seek to become an active member of one or more nationally recognized standards organizations (e.g., ANSI and HL7) that are linked to the internationally recognized ISO standards organization.
Scientific Advisory Committee
by John Nolan
John Nolan (Chair), Andrea Cossarizza, Attila Tarnok, Bartek Rajwa, Gabriela Baerlocher, Gary Durack, Marie Iannone, Natasha Barteneva, Yuval Garini
The ISAC Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) is responsible for providing advice to ISAC leadership on the scientific and educational activities of the society, including the International Congress and interim meetings. ISAC members who have thoughts, concerns or comments on these subjects are encouraged to communicate them to a SAC member.
2004 Congress Evaluation. An important task in planning future conferences is the analysis of attendees’ evaluations of previous congresses. Following the 2004 Congress in Montpellier, participants were asked by e-mail to complete an online evaluation form. Only 171 registrants (of nearly 1,000) responded. This response rate is much too low, and several ideas on how to improve this were discussed and will be implemented at the next Congress. The results of this survey were tabulated and comments collected and presented to ISAC leadership.
Most attendees rated the scientific program of the congress as good, with a lesser number rating it excellent or fair. Highest rated were the Keynote Lecture, the Frontiers Lectures, and the Hooke Lecture. The plenary sessions were rated good, with the “systems biology” theme getting mostly favorable reviews. The parallel sessions were also generally rated as good, although there was a call for more consistent quality and less repetition. The tutorials and workshops were rated as good by most, while the comments indicated some were better than others. Many attendees called for more basic-level information, and there are plans to enhance the educational activities at the next congress in Quebec City. (Also, watch ISAC E-News for updates from the Education Task Force, which is working on ideas to improve the delivery of educational materials to ISAC members.)
Most respondents liked the Le Corum Conference Center, and the food was judged better than the 2000 Congress in Montpellier, but individual comments remind us that it will be impossible to please everyone. Some attendees complained that they were unable to get to all the sessions they wanted and wanted fewer concurrent sessions, others called for shorter days, and most wished the congress was a day shorter. It will be obvious to the quantitatively trained members of ISAC that there is no equation that will balance all of these variables. There was a general sentiment for a less expensive congress. Nearly everyone agreed the Congress Program Schedule needs to be redesigned.
The SAC prepared a detailed summary and presented a set of recommendations to ISAC President-Elect Paul Robinson, who is charged with organizing the 2006 Congress in Quebec City. Paul and the organizing committee want the next Congress to exceed your expectations, so give them your input. Check out the ISAC 2006 Congress planning site at www.isac2006.com.
Upcoming Meetings. The SAC has a small fund budgeted to provide seed money or loans to support small conferences, workshops and courses of interest to ISAC members. So far this year we have endorsed and supported the European Working Group on Clinical Cell Analysis meeting and a Core Managers Workshop held in association with the GLIIFCA regional meeting, as well as the recent Measurement of Antigen-Specific Immune Responses (MASIR) Conference (www.masir.org).
Also, the SAC has recommended, and the ISAC Executive Committee has approved, a proposal for the 5th Samuel A. Latt Conference: “Stem Cells in the Age of Fluorescence Technology” to be held in Queensland, Australia, 6-9 November 2005. This meeting will be held jointly with the Australasian Flow Cytometry Group and the Australian Stem Cell Centre. Check below for more information.
Education Task Force
by Rafael Nunez
1. Identify ISAC's role in education for members and non-members, particularly in the realm of distance learning
Our task force is proposing that ISAC expand its focus in the realm of distance learning and take advantage of the newest educational tools. For example:
- Promote the development of training/education/actualization programs based on distance learning (online, Webcast, videoconferences, CD/DVD)
- Provide education material (lectures, slides, pictures, articles, protocols) including web links to the resources from ISAC, Wiley and to the Purdue site
- Provide access to Wiley free material (lectures, slides, pictures, articles, reviews, protocols)
- Provide access and links to material from BioMed Central
- Report, update and provide links to articles useful to ISAC membership
- Update and keep a current list of for-profit and non-profit-educational activities and meetings useful to ISAC membership.
- Maintain this list with functional Web links (Update and revival of ISAC's Specialty Training and Education Program-STEP)
- Write editorial and comments on relevant topics to ISAC membership
- Produce and develop educational material like CD/DVDs for distribution to ISAC membership
- Work very closely with editors and journals publishing scientific material useful to ISAC membership
- Set up a section in Cytometry A and B dedicated to review topics that will contribute to the education and actualization of ISAC membership
- Provide testing guidelines
- Identify laboratories that are capable and willing to provide outstanding training (including apprenticeship programs), technical advice and expertise in particular fields of cytometry. Assess the quality of training and make information about this training widely available.
- Work with University administrations to develop true academic programs (master/Ph.D. degree) that will enhance the professional visibility of ISAC membership.
2. Develop a specific proposal outlining education needs and the plan for ISAC to address these needs, including resources required for implementation. This proposal requires additional time and discussion as we have identified a long list of ideas, not all of which can realistically be implemented.
Combined Australasian Flow Cytometry Group-ISAC Samuel A. Latt-Australian Stem Cell Centre Meeting
6-9 November 2005
Jupiter’s Casino, Gold Coast Queensland
by Graeme Chapman and John Nolan
For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org and our Web site: http://www.stemcells2005.org/.
Stem Cells in the Age of Fluorescence Technology: the 2005 ISAC Samuel A. Latt Conference incorporating the Annual Conferences of the Australian Stem Cell Centre and the Australasian Flow Cytometry Group
The meeting will consist of plenary lectures, workshop tutorials, parallel oral sessions, plenary oral sessions, commercial tutorial workshops, and poster and trade displays.
Topics for plenary sessions (two per day):
- Directed differentiation (Andrew Elifanty, Monash University)
- Embryonic stem cells (Martin Pera, Monash University)
- Haematopoiesis – bone marrow (Ivan Bertoncello, Peter MacCallum Cancer Center), dendritic cells (Derek Hart, Mater Medical Research Institute; Andrew Perkins, University of Queensland)
- High throughput screening
- Agricultural germ cells (Chis Maxwell, University of Sydney; Gareth Evans, University of Syndey; CSIRO Food Futures Flagship)
- Interaction with other technologies – nanotechnology, microarrays
Topics for workshop tutorials (two per day)
- Isolation of CNS stem cells (Perry Bartlett, University of Melbourne)
- Isolation of ES cells (Martin Pera, Monash University)
- Isolation of haematopoietic stem cells (Alison Rice, University of Queensland)
- Imaging cytometry
- Standardisation (to be led from AFCG and NSSC)
- Intersection technologies such as microarrays, LEAP®
Topics for parallel sessions (one per day)
- Clinical immunology (AFCG), microbial and environmental (AFCG), instrumentation, stem cell interest sessions, and AFCG AGM
Upcoming Danish Society for Flow Cytometry (DSFCM) Meetings
by Jorgen Larsen
Two meetings are planned for 2005. Information about these meetings can be found at our Web site www.flowcytometri.dk:
- 34th Joint Meeting of the Danish Society of Immunology and DSFCM
26 April 2005
Scientific symposia and annual general meetings
Organizers (DSFCM): Hans Jürgen Hoffmann and Jørgen K. Larsen.
- 35th Joint Meeting of the Danish Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Danish Stem Cell Research Doctoral School and DSFCM
24-26 October 2005
Helnæsvej, Ebberup, Fyn
Topic: Stem Cells in Basic and Medical Research
Organizer (DSFCM): Jørgen K. Larsen
Meetings of the Cytometry Section of the Royal Microscopical Society
Annual Flow Cytometry Course, and 10th Benchtop Clinical Flow Cytometry Workshop
by Derek Davies
- The Cytometry Section of the Royal Microscopical Society has three upcoming meetings. The first is the latest of our annual immunophenotyping of leukemia and lymphoma meetings, hosted by Ricardo Morilla at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. Details may be found at
- Secondly, although a few months away, is our annual flow cytometry course held at the University of York. This is a weeklong course that is divided into basic and advanced modules. The advanced modules may be on clinical or cell biology applications. The course is always full and early registration is encouraged as places are limited.
Details are at
- Thirdly, Brian Shenton is organizing his 10th Benchtop Clinical Flow Cytometry Workshop. This will be held in the Medical School, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, 11-13 April 2005. Enquiries should be addressed to Dr. Shenton (email@example.com).
Annual Course in Flow Cytometry
by James Jett
11-17 June 2005
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Sponsored by: The Los Alamos National Flow Cytometry Resource (NFCR) and Verity Software House
Course Description: A methods course in flow cytometry will be offered with special emphasis on applications in cell biology and immunology. The faculty consists of distinguished members of the flow cytometry community. This course will be aimed toward individuals with several years of experience in flow cytometry; very little basic material will be presented. Course lecturers and their presentation subjects are listed below.
|| Green Fluorescent Protein Applications
||Cellular DNA Analysis
|| Cell Signaling Analyses
||Protease Activity Analyses
|| Molecular Oncology
||Multiparameter Cell Cycle Analysis
|| Applications in Microbiology
|| Basics of Flow Cytometry
||Cytometry of Intracellular Signaling
||Fluorescence, Dyes, etc.
Laboratory sessions will address sample preparation, instrument construction, data collection and analysis, and typical problems encountered in flow cytometry. Each participant will receive lecture and laboratory materials. In addition, if there is enough interest, instrumentation laboratory sessions on phase sensitive/fluorescence lifetime measurements, DNA fragment sizing, sorting/rare event analysis, and kinetic cytometry can be offered.
Measuring Antigen-Specific Immune Response
by Mario Roederer
The 2005 MASIR meeting was a fabulous success. The meeting was held in Courmayeur, Italy, 26-29 January 2005. We were oversubscribed (we had to close registration early). We were able to meet our budget, and in fact have a small surplus to apply to the next incarnation of this meeting to take place in mid-2006.
The meeting itself was highly successful; we had quite a bit of positive feedback and already have generated a large amount of interest in MASIR 2006. We are in the process of preparing a meeting report/summary for publication, and hope to finish that within four weeks. Note the MASIR Web site is at www.masir.org
5th Indo-U.S. Cytometry Workshop
by Awtar Krishan
The 5th Indo-U.S. Cytometry Workshop held in Panjab University, Chandigarh, India, 16-19 February 2005, was by all measures a success. We had 35 tuition-paying serious students with 23 faculty members either giving lectures tutorials or demonstrating applications of flow cytometry in cancer and infectious and parasitic diseases.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Frank Mandy from Ottawa, Canada. ISAC members Drs. Scott Cram, Kovit Pattanpanyasat, Jeff Harvey, Martin Adelman, Desh Asthana, Jay Dong and Awtar Krishan were part of the faculty from overseas.
Wet labs given by local faculty followed lectures and labs on HIV, malaria and cancer. Four flow cytometers were specifically imported by Becton Dickinson, Beckman Coulter and Guava for use at the workshop. The valedictory ceremony was presided over by the Honorable Kapil Sibal, Minister of State for Science and Technology, government of India.
We have received feedback forms from the students and these are being summarized. A cursory review shows that more than 75 percent of respondents rated the lectures/labs as excellent. Many students requested more hands-on instrument time with more and more experiments. This will be addressed in future workshops.
This workshop is a labor of love and success is assured by arousing the scientific curiosity of the participants. Based on the number of e-mail inquiries received since the workshop it was a major success.
ISAC provided generous financial support for the workshop and will likely see some new members from India.