South Campus Faculty and Staff

From left: Karen Ramirez, Veena Papanna, Ryan Jewell, Karen Clise-Dwyer, David Dwyer, Kathryn Ruissard, Sarah Schneider

South Campus Research Building 2
Room 2SCR4.2120

Karen Clise-Dwyer, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Stem Cell Transplantation & Cellular Therapy Department
Director, SCRB Flow Cytometry & Cell Sorting Core Facility
Co-Director, Flow Cytometry & Cellular Imaging Facility

Dr. Clise-Dwyer obtained her PhD in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied the effects of a BAFF-R mutation on development of humoral immunity. While in graduate school, she developed her interest in flow cytometry and cell sorting instrumentation. She was the first client of the UW-Madison Flow Core to learn to operate and troubleshoot the multi-laser BD FACS Vantage and Digital Vantage DiVa cell sorters. When the UW-Madison Core Facility beta-tested the DiVa digital upgrade system in 2001, Dr. Clise-Dwyer was heavily involved in that effort. She did postdoctoral research at the Trudeau Institute, studying the effects of aging on lymphocyte development before joining MD Anderson as a Research Scientist. In 2008, Dr. Clise-Dwyer was recruited to direct operations at the South Campus Flow Cytometry & Cell Sorting Core Laboratory. She leads all planning, new instrumentation selection, personnel decisions, grant proposals and funding requests, resource use tracking, staff and client education, and determines FCCIF-SC budget allocations. The South Campus Flow Cytometry & Cell Sorting Core Laboratory has grown rapidly while still maintaining very high (>92%) user satisfaction. Dr. Clise-Dwyer is a member of the International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry (ISAC) and is a former President of the regional cytometry user's group, FlowTex, a major source for cytometry education in the Texas Medical Center and beyond. Dr. Clise-Dwyer is always available to meet with core lab users and PI’s upon request; she collaborates with and provides advice to many researchers throughout the MD Anderson community.

Karen Ramirez, B.S.
Laboratory Manager

Karen has been involved in Flow Cytometry since 1983. She has worked in clinical research labs and in product development and technical support in the flow cytometry industry. At MD Anderson, Karen has worked in the South Campus Flow Cytometry Core since 1992. Since that time, the core has grown significantly in terms of instrumentation, technical capabilities, and number of users served. Karen now manages the FCCIF-SC. She is responsible for operation of all instruments, management of consumables, verifying billing, training new staff and clients. She participates in staff selection and training, staff management activities, SOP development and other projects for the FCCIF-SC. Karen has been involved in teaching Flow Cytometry concepts and techniques to numerous undergraduates, summer students, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and visiting scientists. She is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the South Campus Flow Cytometry Core.

David Dwyer, B.S.
Coordinator, Flow Cytometry Lab


David obtained his B.S. in biological sciences from the University of New Hampshire. After several years doing protein mutagenesis and purification, David has worked in immunology labs since 2002. His research has focused on CTL responses to melanoma, and investigation of the role of T-regulatory cells in the pathogenesis of cancer. In that capacity, he developed significant skills in flow cytometry experimental methods and data analysis. Since joining the core staff, he has expanded his skills and is now a cell sorting specialist. David joined the Core staff in March 2013.

Veena Papanna, M.S., CCy
Senior Flow Cytometry Specialist

Veena received her master degree in Microbiology from the University of Bangalore, India in 2002. She received an MBA in hospital management from USU Russia in 2015. She has more than 10 years of biomedical and immunology research experience including 5 years of experience working in flow cytometry core facilities. Veena received cytometry certification from ISAC in March 2015 and she has attended many hours of cytometry training provided by BD, ISAC, FloCyte, Leica, and Amnis. She has expertise in handling sorting and analysis flow cytometry assays and Amnis ImageStream experiments. Along with acquisition software she has knowledge of other analysis software including FlowJo, Kaluza, and FCS Express. She has been associated with the Core Facility since 2011.

Ryan Jewell, B.S.
Senior Flow Cytometry Specialist

Ryan joined MD Anderson in June 2013. Originally hailing from Iowa, Ryan obtained his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa and had three years of experience in laboratory research prior to joining FCCIF-SC. He has experience in flow cytometry, imaging cytometry, cell sorting, confocal microscopy, computer programming, web design, database management, 3D fabrication, PCR, and cell culture. In addition to assisting with sorting and analysis, Ryan helps with troubleshooting instrumentation, database and billing management, and training users. He has had training from BD, Amnis, ISAC, Excyte, University of New Mexico, and Leica.

Sarah Schneider, B.S.
Laboratory Technician

Originally from Houston, Sarah went to Clark University in Massachusetts where she studied Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and was involved in research on the mechanisms of programmed necrosis. She first began learning flow cytometry in 2012 while working at the Texas Heart Institute doing cell characterization on samples from patients enrolled in cardiovascular stem cell therapy trials. Sarah joined the FCCIF-SC in 2015 and has since learned about a variety of different instruments and cytometry assays. Her responsibilities at the Core include assisting users, running analysis, and cell sorting, as well as helping with side projects for the core and to maintain the instruments. She is excited to continue learning the expansive field of flow cytometry.

Kathryn Ruisaard, B.S.
Research Investigator

Kathryn became a part-time member of the FCCIF-SC staff in June 2011. She has more than ten years of experience doing cytometry experiments, and more than five years of experience with mAb conjugations for Dr. Clise-Dwyer’s Stem Cell Transplantation research lab. She is responsible for conjugating antibodies to fluorochromes for FCCIF-SC users and helps in the Core when needed. She consults with Core users regarding staining panels and FlowJo-based data analysis. She maintains an inventory of commonly used dyes for Flow Cytometry and prepares trial-size aliquots and assists users in designing staining panels for their experiments upon request. Kathryn also provides assistance with cell and analysis on sorters, analyzers, and FlowJo software. She dedicates 50% of her time to the Core Facility.

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