Derya and I were happy to meet with six local Connecticut representatives from the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Informational & Support Group on February 26, 2018. The group visited JAX so that they could learn more about the ME/CFS project and to tour the lab. They are a local group based in Litchfield, CT, and meet twice a month to provide information, support, and a sense of community to local patients who are suffering from Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS. They gave us valuable insight about the disease, plus some suggestions on how we can improve our community outreach efforts here at JAX.
Our first Flow Cytometry educational series was focused on understanding how flow cytometry works, the types of machines used, and how data is collected. In this second part in the series, we will go over some types of flow cytometry data and how that data is interpreted.
What are the different types of flow cytometry data that are collected?
In flow cytometry, there are a few types of light that are detected by the sensors during the data acquisition. The source of light (which is non-fluorescent) can create two different paths. The first is called Forward scatter (FSC), which is formed as laser light hits a cell, and is turned into a digital version that reflects the size of the cell (Figure 1). Second, this same laser light also causes Side scatter (SSC), which is a measure of the internal complexity of the cell. For example, if there are many granules in the cell, there will be a higher SSC than for a cell with little granularity. Together, this can be very informative for separating different cell types, which can be further combined with fluorescence data, discussed below.
Figure 1: Detecting size and granularity of the cells by using laser light.
Yesterday (February 7, 2018), the clinical core for The JAX ME/CFS CRC, Bateman Horne Center, held a screening of Unrest, followed by a panel discussion of the documentary. The panel discussion was shared via their Facebook page, and will also be posted to the BHC Youtube page.
The panel, which consisted of two married couples affected by ME/CFS, discussed the similarities they saw between Jen Brea’s portrayal of the disease and their own experiences. They talked about specific scenes that spoke the most to them, and how loved ones can remain engaged in caring for those who are suffering. They said that the film’s incredible intimacy has allowed people to relate to ME/CFS, and that the success of the documentary has started to lead to new conversations and engagement.
For our next spotlight series, I took advantage of a recent visit to The Jackson Laboratory by Dr. Zaher Nahle, an award-winning scientist with interdisciplinary training in administration and biomedical research. Zaher is the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Vice President for Research at Solve ME/CFS Initiative (SMCI), and a big proponent of ME/CFS advocacy. We talked about his path through scientific research and into patient advocacy, as well as his opinion on the ME/CFS field and where the current research is going. It was a fascinating insight into Dr. Nahle’s involvement in the field and I think the ME/CFS community will find this interview very interesting!
We are excited to present our second “People in ME/CFS Research” spotlight this week, which is my interview with Dr. Suzanne Vernon. Suzanne is the Research Director of the Bateman Horne Center (BHC), which is also the clinical core for the JAX ME/CFS CRC. At BHC, she is building a research program focused on identifying biomarkers, developing diagnostic tests, and uncovering evidence-based treatments for ME/CFS. She was also instrumental for Dr. Unutmaz’s entry into the ME/CFS field, and for the development of the clinical projects with Dr. Cindy Bateman. I recently called Suzanne to ask about her journey through the ME/CFS field, and her views on the progress being made – below is the full interview.