Immunophenotyping at the beautiful settings of Cambridgeshire

The Wellcome Genome Campus held one of their newest advanced courses in Cambridge, UK, at the end of February. The course is based on the phenotyping screen done by the Infection and Immunity Immunophenotyping (3i) consortium (www.immunophenotype.org) that is part of the high-throughput phenotyping at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (WTSI). They are set to conduct high-throughput immunological phenotyping of 800 knockout mouse lines generated by WTSI.

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The course was designed to teach PhD students and postdoctoral fellows more advanced techniques on generation and analysis of immunological datasets. During the course, we went through some immunological assays, and advanced flow cytometry data analysis, which was really useful for my current project. We also had the opportunity to visit the animal facility and closely observe generation of knockout mice.

Registration started on Sunday afternoon, and was followed by an introduction of the lead instructors and the course content. Prof Adrian Hayday, from the leading institution, King’s College London, opened the course with an inspirational talk. Then, we all headed to enjoy some welcome drinks at the local bar. Supper was arranged locally at the institute, which made it even easier to have a chat with other participants as well as the instructors and organisers. Everyone probably, put on some weight during their stay; I did anyway, as they had a great cook making delicious food every day.

The week was very busy, as we started early every day and haven’t finished before late evening. We spent the first half of the week mainly in the lab, working on different assays, e.g. CD8 degranulation assay, epidermal staining, immunohistochemistry, and also had a chance to explore transmission electron microscopy. Early in the week, we had a wine and cheese session where we all could present our work. The second half of the week was more about the data analysis, particularly flow cytometry analysis. The 12-colour flow cytometry panel was quite exciting, and everyone learnt something new during the analysis.

Besides the hard work, we had lots of fun as well, particularly at the bar where Dr Williams Jacobs, who is from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, mostly led the conversations. We visited the local pub, called the Red Lion, and had a great night talking not just about science. The course dinner was on the last night, which made it difficult for some to get up early to catch their train the next morning.

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute has an amazing campus about 30 minutes outside of Cambridge. It has greatly developed since I was there a few years ago as they built several new buildings on the site. However, you can still enjoy the traditional building with its all glory. Here, I managed to catch Dr William Jacobs, and Dr Richard Grencis, from University of Manchester for a quick photo. And if you got up early enough you could enjoy an amazing sunrise right outside the Wellcome Trust grounds.

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I would like to take the opportunity to thank NSERC CREATE HPI for funding to attend this course.

Edina Szabo

Postdoctoral Fellow (Finney Lab)

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