Dr. Nancy Fisher was recently named as the new Director of the Flow Facility Core. The Flow Facility Core was one of the first of its kind in the country, and was founded in the laboratory of Geoffrey Haughton (UNC Chapel Hill, Microbiology and Immunology) while Nancy was a graduate student there. Following graduate school at UNC, Nancy went on to post-doctoral studies at the University of Vermont (UVM). She first began studying T-cell responses to Coxsackie virus-induced myocarditis in the Department of Pathology. She later went on to study in Ralph Budd’s lab (Dept. of Medicine, UVM), where she focused on the Lupus LPR mouse model and T-cell apoptosis. While in Budd’s lab, she became an early investigator in T-cells of the intestinal mucosa. Nancy was then hired by the Univ. of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston at the Child Health Research Center (CHRC) as an Assistant Professor, and later an Associate Professor where her research focused on intestinal lymphocytes and oral tolerance. Her work was funded by NIH and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. While at UTMB, she also taught graduate students in cell biology and immunology classes for the Microbiology and Immunology department.
In 1999, Nancy moved back to Chapel Hill and to UNC in the Department of Medicine as an Associate Professor in the Division of Gastroenterology where she continued her studies in intestinal immunobiology. She left UNC in 2002 when she was lured to the Research Triangle to join a small startup technology company. In 2003, she joined Becton Dickinson Technologies in the department of Cell and Tissue Technologies where she led the early research and development into a regulatory T-cell therapy product. She also developed a six-hour flow cytometry based regulatory T-cell functional assay that measures a T-cell’s ability to suppress effector T-cell function. She says that one of the things she enjoys most is being able to see a marketable product from her research. When part of her project was transferred to California, Nancy stayed in North Carolina where she started her own consulting company, N.C. Fisher Research Inc., which helps small businesses write small business innovation research grants (SBIR) for submission to the NIH. Nancy is also currently serving on the SBIR study section for the NIH.
When the Flow Cytometry Core Director position became available, UNC was able to continue the legacy of the Haughton Lab and lured Nancy back into academia and UNC for the third time. Nancy uses her expertise in Flow to help investigators develop flow cytometry assays for their research. The facility is home to three cell sorters, run by a facility staff and six analyzers available for investigators use including BDLSR2 with seven lasers and the capacity to measure 18 colors of fluorescence.
Together with her husband, Nancy has three sons, all of whom are attending or have attended UNC with the youngest currently at UNC Charlotte. Nancy loves being in North Carolina for all the backpacking, skiing and sailing opportunities offered here. However in the cold weather, she loves to cook international food on her brand new induction stove where she can heat a quart of water in a minute and a half; which just shows that she is a techie to the core.