Working Group 2

Methodological approaches for the investigation of mast cell and basophil biology

Chair: Franco H. Falcone (UK)
Email: undefinedFranco.Falcone(at)

Vice-chair and Mast cell ambassador: TBA
Junior ambassador: Joakim Dahlin, Uppsala

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Mast cell and basophil research have been long hampered by intrinsic technical difficulties with isolating, purifying or growing these cell types from precursors, particularly when working in the human system. Basophils are amongst the rarest leukocytes and until recently their purification was limited to a relatively small number of specialized labs. Mast cells are relatively difficult to purify as they require special treatments to separate them from associated tissues. Available cell lines are not fully reflective of the properties of the primary cells, thus need to be used with a degree of caution.
There are also discrepancies between rodent and human mast cells and basophils which are not always sufficiently appreciated.
On the positive side, there are now several commercially available antibodies for detection of activation, purification kits and FACS protocols which have made research with these two cell types amenable to a wider number of laboratories.
This is an exciting time to work on mast cells and basophils and this is reflected in the increasing number of high profile publications about this topic.

Foreseen actions of the WG2 are:

  • To edit and publish a monograph with detailed protocols for basophil and mast cell related research
  • To select speakers in relevant topics that can take place in association with EMBRN meetings.
  • To foster scientific collaborations and exchange visits that can to a limited extend be financed by the Cost action.
  • To encourage members to contribute to a mast cell/basophil database (mastobasopedia or mastobasowiki) that will include molecule pages, a data and protocol center to be installed on the COST Internet site.


COST Action BM1007 – Mast Cells and Basophils – Targets for Innovative Therapies
Working Group 2: "Methodological approaches for the investigation of mast cell and basophil biology"

Southampton, UK
November 24, 2011
5:30 pm - 6:00 pm


  1. Update WG2 Members
  2. Aims and planned activities
  3. Appointment of a) Vice chair and Mast Cell Ambassador and b) Junior Ambassador
  4. Appointment of a coordinator for relationships with other WGs, especially WG1, regarding Desk Reference/Wiki
  5. Mast cell and Basophil Methods Book. Status quo and discussion of publisher, approach, format
  6. Creation of a Mast cell and basophil 'discovery timeline', linked with original "classic" papers for download (Project Gutenberg-style). Appointment of a co-ordinator and copyright issues
  7. Other activities
  8. Any other business

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