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2nd German Mass Cytometry User Forum finished

2nd Mass Cytometry User Forum

Opening of the User Forum by Henrik Mei ©Jacqueline Hirscher

The 2nd German Mass Cytometry User Forum held on January 24th – 25th 2019 in Berlin was a great success. The Forum was organized by the German Mass Cytometry Network, GerMaNet in collaboration with the German Rheumatism Research Center Berlin, a Leibniz-Institute, to link mass cytometry laboratories in Berlin, Munich, Ulm, Cologne, and Dresden, to further promote networking and exchange within the mass cytometry community in and around Germany.

Three participants from the DRFZ were selected for a talk, others for posters.

Dr. Sabine Baumgart

Dr. Sabine Baumgart presented first, promising results of a study carried out together with the University of Kiel, in which changes in the cellular composition of whole blood in patients with chronic inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) compared to healthy volunteers could be determined by using mass cytometry. In addition, the blood of these patients was monitored over a period of 14 weeks after initiation of therapy with a so-called biologic that neutralizes the inflammatory messenger TNF-alpha. With up to 42 different molecules, which can be detected by specific antibodies on the cell surface, the white blood cells could be characterized in great detail and cellular pattern (signatures) could be identified. These signatures could be used to monitor the response to therapy at the molecular and single cell level.

Dr. Sabine Baumgart is a scientist with the Immunomonitoring and Mass Cytometry groups of Dr. Andreas Grützkau and Dr. Henrik Mei.

2nd Mass Cytometry User Forum

Sabine Baumgart ©Ute Hoffmann

Dr. Axel Schulz

In order to investigate the changes of immune cells in the blood during the immunomodulatory treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with eggs of the porcine whipworm, Dr. Axel Schulz has developed a complex immune profiling with 44 cell markers using innovative mass cytometry (CyTOF technology) for the detection of the activation of T and B cells. In an initial analysis, immune cell profiles of RA patients differed significantly from those of healthy patients. Both the treated and the placebo-treated patient groups showed a significant clinical improvement within 6 months. On the other hand, cellular immune signatures that were the result of the treatment were only temporarily detectable. Mass cytometry is thus able to monitor specific changes of the immune system with high sensitivity and to provide biomarker and immunopathogenesis projects with information on the patient’s immune status.

Dr. Axel Schulz is a postdoctoral fellow in the <a href=”https://www.drfz.de/forschung/arbeitsgruppen/zentrallabor-massenzytometrie/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>mass cytometry technology platform</a> headed by Dr. Henrik Mei.

2nd Mass Cytometry User Forum

Axel Schulz ©Ute Hoffmann

Lisa Budzinski

Polystyrene beads are commonly employed in flow cytometry for e.g. the standardization of measurements. However, mass cytometry (CyTOF technology), which is able to analyze immune cells of patients with in unprecedented detail compared to conventional flow cytometry, lacked beads-based assays, thus limiting the types of assays that can be performed on that platform. Lisa Budzinski has now labelled polystyrene beads with osmium tetroxide to reveal functionalized beads in mass cytometry. She could show that these osmium-labeled beads are very well suited for routine, simple and quick application in mass cytometry for e.g. compensation of spillover and receptor quantification. The application of osmium-labelled particles in mass cytometry not only improves the overall quality of the data, but also enables the direct comparison with data from flow cytometry.

Lisa Budzinski has been a master student in the mass cytometry technology platform with Dr. Henrik Mei. She is currently working on her PhD thesis in the Schwiete Laboratory for Microbiota and Inflammation  of Dr. Hyun-Dong Chang.

2nd Mass Cytometry User Forum

Lisa Budzinski ©Ute Hoffmann

A summary of the meeting can be found here:
www.drfz.de/cytof-forum-2019