Bill Telford met his first flow cytometer in the mid-1980s and has been involved with cytometry technology ever since. He received his Ph.D. in microbiology from Michigan State University in 1994, where his laboratory developed some of the earliest techniques for flow cytometric detection of apoptosis. He received his postdoctoral training in immunology at The University of Michigan Medical School, was appointed assistant scientist at the Hospital for Special Surgery / Cornell Weill School of Medicine in New York City from 1997 to 1999. Dr. Telford became a Staff Scientist at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health in 1999, and is currently and Senior Associate Scientist and director of the flow cytometry core laboratory in the NCI Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch. Dr. Telford’s current research interests mainly involve instrumentation development, with concurrent fluorochrome and assay innovation to fit the latest instrument technology. He has been involved in the Indo-US Workshops and the Livre Education Task force for over 15 years, and now works with the Instruments for Science Task Force to provide flow cytometry technology to underserved parts of the world.
My primary work with ISAC over the last 15 years has been with their international workshops and the Live Education Task Force, aimed at providing cytometry education and access on a global scale. One of ISAC’s greatest historical strengths has been their training programs, a resource that has been effectively leveraged into a wide-ranging international training agenda. We should support and expand these programs, with special attention to countries that have not yet been included in the ISAC training agenda. The Live Education Task force has identified countries and institutions in Central and Eastern Europe, Central and South America and Asia with limited resources yet an intense desire to increase their scientific capabilities. These countries should become our mail focus as countries with good ISAC training presence are achieving high scientific competence. Similarly, the equipment gifts and donations being promoted by the ISAC Instruments for Science Task Force should be strongly encouraged, with a formal system for ISAC to provide instrument technology to institutions in need. ISAC has long recognized the need to increase the breadth of their membership and influence around the world; this needs to remain a major focus of the society.
Instrument technology development was an early and necessary strength of ISAC and the cytometry research community. As is the case for most scientific technologies, the responsibility for this has largely shifted to the private sector. While this is expected and essential for rapid development, technology development in universities and the public sector still has an important role to play in technological innovation. ISAC already supports such development through the ISAC Scholars and SRL Emerging Leaders Program. We should look for additional ways to encourage technology development by member investigators, both alone and through public-private partnerships.