Did you know that Wallace H Coulter (1913 – 1998) was an American electrical engineer? He studied electronics at Georgia Tech in the early 1930s. For haematologists, the best known of his inventions is the ‘Coulter Principle’, a method of counting and sizing microscopic particles suspended in a fluid. The ‘Coulter Principle’ states that particles pulled through an orifice, concurrent with an electric current, produce a change in impedance that is proportional to the volume of the particle traversing the orifice.
Apparently the genesis of this idea was that Coulter was impressed by laboratory workers labouring over microscopes counting blood cells on haemocytometers, which was a laborious procedure. His instrument, the Coulter Counter® increased the sample size and reduced the analysis time and the error rate.
The Coulter Corporation pioneered the development of monoclonal antibodies and flow cytometry. His foundation began a relationship with the American Society of Hematology (ASH) providing capital to establish the Clinical Research Training Institute and the High-lights of ASH in Latin America and Asia.
For an historical account of Coulter’s significant contributions, click here.