Flow Cytometry Expert Offers Webinar for Researchers This Week

February 09, 2011

Timothy Bushnell, Ph.D.

A scientist at the University of Rochester Medical Center has been tapped to help researchers around the nation learn how to seek out funds to upgrade their laboratories.

Timothy Bushnell, Ph.D., research assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, will lead a webinar about a federal funding program Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011. The session is sponsored by the Principal Investigators Association.

Bushnell will discuss a National Institutes of Health funding program known as the S10, or Shared Instrumentation Grant, program. The highly competitive program makes funds available to investigators to purchase specific pieces of equipment. In the last four years, Bushnell has successfully obtained funds through the S10 program for two devices, an imaging flow cytometer and a cell sorter.

This image of a macrophage gobbling up a microbe was made possible thanks to the skills of researchers at the Flow Cytometry Resources Core.

Bushnell is scientific and technical director of the Medical Center’s Flow Cytometry Resources Core facility. The facility encompasses an array of high-tech devices designed to help scientists ferret out the secrets of cells. Equipment includes devices to take images of thousands of cells per second and to sort them based on their content or other properties. Such research is crucial for many researchers, from scientists seeking to identify stem cells involved in the growth of cancer to physicians trying to understand how diseases like the flu spread.

The facility supports the projects of more than 100 University of Rochester researchers. Bushnell himself has used the system to look at the workings of the immune system, to understand how the body responds to flu, how the body builds up and breaks down bone tissue, and to search for new ways to stop leukemia and monitor the spread of prostate cancer.

One Medical Center research project that was able to move forward recently specifically because of the core’s capabilities involves a microbe that targets patients with cancer, AIDS, and others with compromised immune systems. Bushnell helped create a new way to capture images of cells destroying the bug Pneumocystis jirovecii in cells, a development that helped researchers Jing Wang, Ph.D., and Terry Wright, Ph.D., learn more about a drug that holds promise for treating infected patients.

Bushnell’s presentation is at 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10. To learn more about this webinar or to register, visit http://www.principalinvestigators.org/Audio-Conferences/audio-conference-021011/.

The Flow Cytometry Resources Core is one of more than a dozen core facilities that the Medical Center offers its investigators. The cores are managed by scientists like Bushnell who have developed expertise in a particular technology and work with hundreds of other scientists around the medical center to help them take advantage of the equipment for their specific research projects. The input of scientists from many different areas helps push the capabilities of the equipment to new realms, making the tools even more useful for subsequent researchers.

Bushnell has been with the University since 1998 and has headed the Flow Cytometry Core since 2008. He is an organizer of the Western New York Flow Cytometry Users Group, serves on the executive board of the International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry, and is a member of the organizing committee for the Great Lakes International Imaging and Flow Cytometry Association.

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