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Conemaugh Donates Flow Cytometer to Biology Department

October 31, 2019 Author: Jen Merry Tags: Research , STEAM

Conemaugh Valley Memorial Hospital donated a flow cytometer to the Biology department for use with students in research. The donated flow cytometer will support research in Biology, Master of Science in Cancer Care, and other departments. The cytometry technology is used in many fields including molecular biology, pathology, immunology, virology, plant biology, and marine biology.

Cytometry is the measurement of cell characteristics such as cell size, count, cycle and more. Researchers and Cell Biologists use a flow cytometer to look at individual cells in order to get highly specific information. They are able to analyze thousands of cells per second all at the single-cell level suspended in a fluid.

Flow Cytometer photoBiology Department Chair, Dr. Justin Merry says, “We’re very thankful for this donation from Conemaugh hospital and the partnership that we have formed with them. Our students are able to gain real-life experience better preparing them for their future careers.”

Biology/Pre-Medicine Senior, Josh Mills, recently interned in an immunology lab at the University of Pennsylvania where he first gained some experience using a flow cytometer. In his research he was testing HIV treatments in mouse models. “We were using modified CAR T-cells to try and fight HIV,” says Josh. “The flow cytometer measured how many of the modified cells were infected with the HIV versus how many cells were still healthy.” Josh hopes to use the flow cytometer on a research project at SFU where he’ll study a pancreatic cancer cell line subjected to a variety of chemotherapeutic treatments in efforts to understand how these treatments change cell surface markers.  

Josh’s advisor and Biology professor, Dr. Irene Wolf says, “We’re excited to give our undergraduate Biology students experience using a flow cytometer. They will be able to not only learn the technique of using the high-tech instrument, but will also gain an understanding of how to analyze the data that is produced.”

Photo Caption (L to R): Josh Mills, Dr. Justin Merry, and Brooke Mattocks