Around Myers Hollow
Pioneer use of powerful lab tool brings college professors to campus
Labs at Wittenberg’s new Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center provided
the location for a new national teaching alliance promoting the use of
Flow Cytometers in the undergraduate biology curriculum, June 19-20.
A $58,000 matching grant from the National Science Foundation allowed
Matthew Hanson, assistant professor of biology, to host a workshop to
train college faculty from around the country in the use of the once prohibitively
expensive equipment in the college curriculum.
Wittenberg is a charter member of the Consortium for Flow Cytometry Education
along with San Jose State University and the University of St. Thomas
(Minn.). The consortium is committed to integrating the once $200,000
machine into everyday biology courses. Not long ago the Flow Cytometer
could only be found at major research institutions. However, the cost
of the instruments has dropped rapidly, and used units are now more readily
The Flow Cytometer is ideal for Wittenberg, where science learning is
experiential, and students learn by creative inquiry. The instrument,
when interfaced with a computer, can quickly distinguish between plant
and animal cells, functions of organelles and the dozens of types of white
blood cells. It can also distinguish between normal and cancerous cells.
Springfield’s Community Hospital donated the instrument used by
“Wittenberg is unique as one of only a dozen universities of its
size that has this technology,” Hanson said. “This is a perfect
tool for our students, who are well accustomed to hands-on learning in
Wittenberg now has the opportunity to serve as a regional center of flow
cytometry education at the undergraduate level. The fledgling consortium
has applied for an additional $500,000 NSF grant to develop new member
colleges around the nation, and to develop classroom and laboratory texts
for wide use.
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