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BD Biosciences: Celebrating 50 Years of Flow Cytometry Innovation and Beyond at CYTO2024

The International Society for Advancement of Cytometry CYTO 2024 event that just concluded in Edinburg, Scotland, drew cytometrists around the world and captivated attention for five days!  In addition to discussing flow cytometry data quality control, which has been at the heart of the BD Biosciences endeavors in the past years, the conference catered to a wide range of interests in flow cytometry. Artificial intelligence (AI), of course, was a big theme and several discussions centered on how AI can help in instrument performance, reagent performance and data analysis. From spectral and imaging flow cytometry and standardization of spectral and large flow cytometry panels to deep immunophenotyping and flow cytometry data analysis, attendees heard several topics that would have piqued their interest.

BD Biosciences celebrates 50 years since the introduction of the first ever commercial fluorescence-activated cell sorter and continuous innovation to the present day

History and continuous innovation were the central theme of the BD Biosciences booth. The star of the show was the BD FACSDiscover S8 Cell Sorter, showcasing the innovative BD CellView™ Image Technology and BD SpectralFX Technology, which revolutionized high-speed real-time imaging and spectral flow cytometry. Accompanying this spectral cell sorter was the impressive array of fluorochromes that could be paired with it. The clean and bright, spectrally enabled BD Horizon RealYellow and BD Horizon RealBlue Dyes, flow cytometry data solutions, including FlowJo™ v10.10 Software plugins and the BD® Research Cloud ecosystem for collaboration on panel design were also featured in the conference.





Commercial tutorials 

The two BD Biosciences tutorials drew quite a large audience. With only standing room, attendees listened with rapt attention to Bob Balderas, VP of biological sciences at BD Biosciences, as he discussed the evolution of flow cytometry dyes and how to leverage the BD Horizon RealBlue and BD HorizonRealYellow Dyes to improve biological resolution and increase parameters for spectral flow cytometry. Florian Mair, Scientific Director, ETH, Zurich  described the strategy used to create a 50-color flow cytometry panel that was published in a recent Cytometry paper. Raffaello Cimbro from Astra Zeneca described how he used the BD CellView Image Technology’s imaging feature to his advantage. Together with Oscar Fornas from Peompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, he discussed how his lab used the first real-time imaging spectral flow cytometer (RTI-SFC), the BD FACSDiscover™ S8 Cell Sorter, for achieving previously impossible sorting applications.





Workshop and talks 

Veronica Obregon of BD Biosciences conducted a workshop on clustering and how to make sense of it in flow cytometry data analysis, which received a lot of attention. Her talk titled “A tale of two tissues: immune dynamics following CD8+ cell depletion” was also found to be informative by the audience.

Teamwork makes the dream work

The conference also hosted a unique talk about historic collaborations between the BD Biosciences scientists who developed the BD CellView Image Technology and flow core facilities and labs that enabled the teams to push the limits of commercial cytometry technology to power discovery.


A “tete-a-tete” with the scientists behind BD innovations

Several participants got the opportunity to meet with the BD scientists behind the creation of the real-time imaging spectral flow cytometer and understand the capabilities and possible applications of the BD CellView™ Technology and BD SpectralFX™ Technology to their own research. These informal scientific sessions, facilitated by a white board in the BD booth, were educational for the attendees.

In addition, participants also had in-depth discussions with BD scientists on panel design and the family of BD Horizon™ RealYellow and BD Horizon™ RealBlue Dyes. BD scientists explained how these dyes are engineered to deliver reduced spillover and thus optimize resolution when used with other dyes, which helps in designing complex flow cytometry panels.
Many participants were interested in simply understanding the history of flow cytometry and BD’s role in this history, from the inception of the fluorescence-activated cell sorting technology at the commercial level to the many innovations in the field in subsequent decades.




50 years of BD innovations: The BD customer event

The BD customer event, set in the prestigious National Museum of Scotland, drew immense interest among the CYTO participants. With about 500 people in attendance, the audience enjoyed playing flow cytometry trivia games covering innovations and progress in flow cytometry over the past 50 years. They also got a glimpse of the endless possibilities for the future of spectral flow cytometry: how real-time imaging can be used for high-quality sample preparation and sorting, as well as how to tackle challenges in complex flow cytometry data analysis using the latest tools.


The BD FACSDiscover™ S8 cell sorter user group meeting

A  group of around 80 proud owners of the BD FACSDiscover S8 Cell Sorter regaled prospective users with their experience using FACSDiscover S8 Cell Sorter. There were stimulating discussions on various topics such as the ability to visualize and sort nuclei in real-time, as well as how the instrument helped a flow core customer in “cleaning up” their sample for downstream genomic analysis. Another customer highlighted how they utilized the capabilities of the BD FACSDiscover S8 Cell Sorter for extracellular vesicle (EV) characterization, which was previously a difficult task to perform. Some customers drew comparisons between the data quality derived from the FACSAria Cell Sorter, which was their standard until now, and the quality derived from the BD FACSDiscover S8 Cell Sorter. Several of the customers who were using this real-time imaging-enabled high-speed cell sorter emphasized how the image features helped them define better gates for sorting. This was especially significant for the flow core scientists.


Poster sessions

BD Biosciences presented seven posters at the CYTO2024 meeting. The topics included imaging flow cytometry; detecting lipid nanoparticles phagocytosed by antigen presenting cells; transferring a 33-color flow cytometry immunophenotyping panel from the BD FACSymphony A5 SE Cell Analyzer to the BD FACSymphonyS6 SE System; studying high-dimensional biology with high throughput multiomic profiling of single cells; and automated analysis of flow cytometry data with elastic image registration.

If you missed the conference, you can still download the posters presented by BD Biosciences on our CYTO conference web page.

Download CYTO2024 posters