Skip to main content

Dr Christian Tjiam

Senior Technical Officer – Flow Cytometry

  • Cell analysis
    • Flow cytometry analysers:
      BD FACS Canto II, BD LSR Fortessa, Attune NxT)
    • Flow cytometry data analysis software:
      FlowJo, FCS Express and FCAP Array
  • Cell sorting
    • Fluorescence activated cell sorter (BD FACSJazz)

Cutting-edge technologies in CHIRI’s shared use facilities are used by hundreds of researchers each year and keeping the cell sorting and analysis work flowing is Senior Technical Officer Christian Tjiam, who manages our Flow Cytometry facilities.

As sole operator of CHIRI’s cell sorter, Chris helps researchers isolate pure populations of cells for research across a range of disciplines and interests, including age-related research on cancer, stem cells, immunology, liver diseases, neuroscience and microbiology.

Chris also supports users on our flow cytometry analysers, providing multi-parameter panel design, experiment troubleshooting, flow cytometry data analysis advice and training students and staff to use the platforms.

Good thing Chris’s childhood passion for solving complex problems still runs strong today, as he is also responsible for general maintenance and identification of cytometer-related issues.

Growing up, Chris enjoyed learning about natural phenomena and finding explanations for how things work. This and his desire to reduce suffering in the world caused by incurable illnesses led him to pursue an undergraduate degree in medical science majoring in pathology and pharmacology, graduating with First Class Honours and, more recently, completing his PhD in HIV/vaccine immunology at the University of Western Australia (UWA).

While conducting his Honours and PhD research at the UWA Translational Immunology laboratory, Chris was the first author of papers published in The Journal of Immunology and AIDS that first described a function of immunoglobulin G antibodies that correlated with immune control of HIV-1 infection. He says finding observations never before described feeds his drive for discovery and medical research.

As well as his role at CHIRI, where Chris gets to indulge his fascination with the high-tech equipment behind the research, he continues to share his B cell immunology insights with Masters of Clinical Pathology students as a sessional lecturer at UWA.

Chris has also worked as a graduate research assistant in UWA’s Translational Immunology Unit and as a laboratory demonstrator and tutor for students studying their Masters of Clinical Pathology at UWA.

At CHIRI, Chris uses his teaching experience to tailor his flow cytometry training to the student’s level of flow cytometry knowledge. He has developed simple inductions for our newest users to ensure the fundamentals of flow cytometry stick with them from early on in their research careers.

Chris hopes to one-day start his own laboratory focused on vaccine immunology research. In the meantime he is thrilled to be contributing to high-quality medical research by advising our team on how to enhance the flow cytometry data they generate, and to be part of a friendly and approachable team of technical officers with expertise and passion for their respective fields.

Research interests – Vaccine immunology; Fc-mediated IgG antibody functions; innate antibody effector cells; immunopathology of infectious diseases; high parameter cytometry; dimensionality reduction and data visualisation.