SUMMIT 2017: Keynote Speaker Sean C. Bendall, PhD

Sean C. Bendall, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine

Sean C. Bendall is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology at Stanford University, School of Medicine. His research specialty is single-cell proteomic investigations of developing human systems. Sean’s PhD work involved dissecting protein regulators of human pluripotency using embryonic stem cells and mass spectrometry-based proteomics. He then went onto Stanford University where he trained under Professor Garry Nolan, pioneering CyTOF mass cytometry and multiplexed ion beam imaging (MIBI) – both next-generation single-cell analysis platforms. Sean’s work in mass cytometry analysis has gone on to provide an unparalleled granularity of understanding in multiple facets of human hematopoiesis and immunology. His lab continues to unravel the nature of both ‘healthy and dysfunctional’ early human hematopoietic immune cell biology using single cell proteomic analysis. His work has been recognized by numerous awards including the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation “Breakthrough Scientist” Award, the International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry President’s Award of Excellence, and the NIH Common Fund “New Innovator” Award.

“Massively Multiplexed Cellular Analysis in Human Health and Disease”


Single cell analysis, starting with the earliest low parameter fluorescent cytometry and microscopy experiments, helped define the major cell subsets of human cellular systems as we understand them today (i.e. T-cells, B-cells, macrophages). As single cell analysis parameters have increased, so has the identification of rare immune subsets and stem cells. This progression has been stymied by the limit of light-based parameters measurable, realistically capped at 12-15 due to boundaries in instrumentation and spectral overlap considerations in fluorophore-based tagging methods.

Now, a novel combination of elemental mass spectrometry with single cell analysis (mass cytometry – CyTOF) and imaging (multiplexed ionbeam imaging – MIBI, Nature Med. 2014) offers routine examination of 30-50 parameters without fluorescent agents or interference from spectral overlap with heavy metal isotopes as reporters. Using these new platforms we have been able to reach new levels of hematopoietic immune organization (Science, 2011, 2015) combined with novel single-cell visualization and analysis methods (SPADE, viSNE, Wanderlust, Phenograph, SCAFFOLD – Nature Biotech 2011, 2013, Cell 2014, 2015, 2017) we detailed hematopoietic immune function and dysfunction, identifying new cell populations, regulatory relationships and clinically predictive features underlying disease.

Together, these collective works expose unappreciated layers of human cellular organization, and provide an opportunity to reevaluate diseases and pharmacological therapeutics as specific perturbations to this inherent order.