Celebrating 40 Years of Service
FACS analysis of blood cells to chart normal and disease processes is one of the very first "big data" applications in biomedicine. Wayne is one of the key architects of the technology used for these broadly applied flow cytometry data analyses, which range from monitoring the success of bone marrow transplants to charting algae blooms in water supplies. With over 30,000 FACS instruments in use worldwide, FACS has become central to cancer diagnosis and therapy, HIV treatment and prognosis, blood disorder diagnosis and therapy, and much else. In addition, FACS is central to the discovery of stem cells and many other basic biological advances that are currently working their way into medical technology. Wayne's work, alone and in collaboration with David Parks (another honoree this year), is one of the cornerstones on which this phenomenal and highly successful technology effort rests.
When Wayne started working in flow cytometry, FACS data were collected with an oscilloscope and Polaroid camera; computers had yet to be seriously introduced into biology and medicine. Using unique state-of-the-art approaches, Wayne brought computers into a central role for FACS. Early on, he developed the now universal "probability contour" FACS data displays and pioneered visual, point-and-click methods for collecting and analyzing scientific data. Later, in collaboration with David Parks, he co-developed the Logicle scale for FACS data display and many other FACS improvements, each of which, in its time, changed the way flow cytometry data was routinely collected, displayed and analyzed throughout the world. In early work, Wayne also developed automated data collection, storage and retrieval software that has operated continuously for years here at Stanford. Today, as a result, the Shared FACS Facility has a continuously growing collection of FACS data dating back to the 1980s, currently containing more than two million samples from 120,000 experiments that collectively occupy more than 6TB. In addition, and more broadly important, the biomedical research and medical practice have access to high-speed FACS data collection and analysis programs grown from the models that Wayne and his colleagues developed, and continue to develop, here at Stanford.
Wayne is now working on methods to improve and automate the routine data analysis required for fluorescence compensation. In private life, he is an avid motorcyclist and volunteers in efforts to circumvent state censorship of the internet.