A Perfect Match

How mass cytometry and speed dating made Christina ideal applications specialist

Product applications specialist Christina Loh demonstrates how hard work and the courage to take a chance have helped her make a home in Markham.

Q: How did your immunology background prepare you for your role at Fluidigm?

A: As an undergrad, I did research on T cell development. It was a great start to research and fundamental in driving my interest into the effects of developmental dysregulation. In this context, I completed a PhD in systemic autoimmunity and looked at dysregulated B-cell development. It was here that I learned about the power of single-cell analysis, as it became an integral aspect of my published research. My application of single-cell analysis in the study of immunological development further evolved during my postdoc at Stanford in Garry Nolan’s lab. Mass cytometry provided the tool necessary to elucidate the role of a family of microRNAs in immunological homeostasis during my postdoctoral research.

As an advanced mass cytometry user, I was readily prepared for the position at Fluidigm as a product applications specialist. In this role, I apply my mass cytometry experience as a user to further cultivate the platform.

Q: What is your favorite part of your role?

A: My favorite part of my role is the variety of experiences that I have received while working on this team. These experiences can be categorized in a variety of ways, from the wide range of people (personalities, experiences and expertise) to the areas of the industry (sales, marketing, R&D, etc.) to the projects that we pursue (white papers, collaborations, etc.). Throughout all of this, similar to academia, I am continually learning.

Q: How do you like working in our Markham office in Canada?

A: I have come full circle: I grew up in Markham and somehow ended up back here. I once called Markham home, so it was nice to discover that the Markham office built a culture of family. Transitioning from a similarly warm academic lab to this office was made easy because of this culture—and a great team! Beyond the atmosphere, in this role as a proteomics product applications specialist, being at the heart of machine production, engineering, tech support and R&D makes for a more complete experience.

Q: We heard you were a speed-dating host back in graduate school and dabble in matchmaking now? How did that come about?

A: Becoming a speed-dating host happened overnight. I cold-emailed the top three speed-dating companies in Toronto, and the next day the CEO of one of the companies emailed me for an interview—despite the academic CV and only promises of great hosting skills. Apparently, she took a chance on an environmental scientist as a host in the past, and it worked out quite well. I went on to host events on a weekly basis for several years, so I have more than enough stories and personal social psychology findings to share! As for the matchmaking, I often meet someone and immediately another person comes to mind that I’d like to introduce them to. And sometimes, these two people happen to be single and interested when I introduce them … hence a match!