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NMSU engineering professor named president-elect of cytometry society

Release Date: 21 Jun 2022
NMSU engineering professor named president-elect of cytometry society

New Mexico State University Chemical and Materials Engineering Professor Jessica Perea Houston was recently voted into the position of president-elect of the International Society for Advancement of Cytometry. Her term will run until 2024 at which time she will serve as president of ISAC for one year, then past-president in 2025. She has served on the executive committee as treasurer of this society for four years as well as on the ISAC council. She also was named an International Scholar of ISAC in 2014.

ISAC is a scientific society with about 2,000 members; it was formed in 1978 and has a mission to “serve a multidisciplinary community by leading technological innovation, scholarship, and the exchange of knowledge in the quantitative cell sciences.”

Cytometry encompasses the measurement of cells and cell systems using quantitative and cutting-edge technologies. The society promotes education, outreach, innovation and fundamental science toward the characterization, organization and structure of cells. ISAC organizes a major international meeting every year and manages the journal, Cytometry Part A, of which Houston serves as associate editor. Cytometric technologies are widely used in the diagnosis of immune disorders, including cancers in the blood. Cytometry is also used in research and development to study a variety of cell types including in plants and other biological systems.

“Dr. Houston is a highly respected contributor to the field of cytometry. She established her value as a faculty member early on and is one of our strongest faculty members. She is an outstanding teacher, mentor and leader,” said Lakshmi Reddi, College of Engineering dean.

Houston is a graduate of Santa Fe High School. In 2000, she received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from NMSU. She went on to receive her master’s and doctoral degrees from Texas A&M University. She worked at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, on breast cancer-related optical imaging research as a graduate student.

She later focused her efforts on flow cytometry as a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s National Flow Cytometry Resource, funded by the National Institutes of Health. The National Flow Cytometry Resource pursued the development of advanced flow cytometry instrumentation and applications, and transferred many developments to the biomedical science community.

She joined the NMSU faculty in 2009 and introduced a new line of biomedical research to the Chemical and Materials Engineering Department. She directs the Flow Cytometry and Biophotonics Lab focused on cytometry instrumentation development.

Houston was recognized for her research in this field with a National Science Foundation CAREER award, one of the foundation’s most prestigious honors, in 2012. She received a Fulbright Faculty award, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State in 2018. She traveled to Saitama University north of Tokyo, Japan, to work alongside Miho Suzuki, a colleague and biochemist.

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