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Flow cytometry instruments and charges


We have 3 analysers.

The BD FACScan is a single laser machine with 488 nm illumination and detects 5 parameters, 2 light scatter ('forward' or low-angle scatter and 'side' or 90-degree scatter) and 3 fluorescence bands (515-545 nm, 564-606 nm, 650+ nm). Typically this machine is used to detect emission from FITC, PE, PE-CY5 or PerCP, but other fluorochromes may also be used.

The Cyan ADP MLE provides 3 colour excitation at 351nm, 488nm and 635nm with a maximum of 9 fluorescence and 2 scatter parameters; it can analyse at rates of up to 50,000 events per second. This cytometer is useful for those searching for rare cells, those with applications requiring more than 3 colors to define a cell population or wishing to use a fluorochrome requiring UV or red light excitation.  Recommended fluorochromes for the CyAn include but are not limited to: FITC, PE, PE-Tx-Red, PE-Cy5, PE-Cy7, Alexa-Fluor 350, DAPI, Hoechst 33342, Indo-1, APC, Alexa-647 and APC-Cy7.  The CyAn is designed to be user friendly and most users are comfortable with it after one or more training sessions from Nigel.

NEW The Cytek DxP8 provides 3 colour excitation at 488nm, 561nm and 637nm with a maximum of 8 fluorescence and 2 scatter parameters. This cytometer is useful for anyone using one of the many flavours of red fluorescent protein (mRFP1, mCherry, dTomato etc.). It will also help those with applications requiring more than 3 colours to define a cell population or wishing to use a fluorochrome requiring red light excitation, particularly those who have large cells or samples with small aggregates (which cause a problem for the Cyan's small bore tubing) .  Recommended fluorochromes for the Cytek include but are not limited to: FITC, PE, PerCP-Cy5.5, PE-Cy7,GFP, RFPs, Texas Red, APC, Alexa-660 and APC-eFluor780.  The Cytek is based on FACScan fluidics and is designed to be user friendly and we expect most users will comfortable with it after one training session from Nigel.

Here are some suggestions for 5, 6 and 7 colour fluorochrome combinations which should work well on the Cytek DxP8 Also note that the data files (FCS3) from the DxP8 can only be opened in FlowJo at present.

The machines are user-operated but you need authorisation and an account from Nigel or Nick. Training will be provided as needed.

Our Astrios (see below) may also be used for analysis at present. It does however require a higher degree of expertise and training to operate.

Cell sorters

Our cell separation needs are provided by a BeckmanCoulter MoFlo Astrios high-speed cell sorter. This machine can handle total input rates of 35,000 cells per second (1.2x10e+8/hr). It can sort cells in bulk or deposit any chosen number in multiwell trays of 384 - 6 wells or onto slides. It takes about 2 minutes to 'clone' cells into a 96-well tray (assuming desired population is about 1% of input mixture). The machine can sort 6 different populations simultaneously, maximising the use of your samples.

The  Astrios offers two different things (a) It has Class II Biohazard Containment (b) It has a total of 18 possible 'colours' and 6 scatter parameters.

It provides 5 laser illumination (355, 405, 488, 561 and 640nm) and a maximum of 18 fluorescent detectors and six scatter detectors. Most application will not use many of these data channels. It also is contained within a Class II Biohazard cabinet and in a designated Class II suite (with stand alone hood, centrifuge and incubator). We welcome enquiries for sorting Class II material (subject to risk assessment) but also expect to sort typical class I material. particles which can be sorted are not limited to mammalian cells; plant protoplasts, nuclei, microbeads, bacteria, viruses, protozoa and subcellular organelles can all be sorted.

We welcome regarding possible uses. Only Nigel can operate this machine in Sorter mode.

We provide an Excel spreadsheet to help you plan your staining options for experiments using the Astrios (Click here).



In order to cover the running costs of the machines we do have to make a charge for use. The three analysers are charged at £23/hr of use; this charge covers the cost of operation. The Moflo sorter is charged at £57.50; this is only on a partial cost recovery basis and is at present being subsidised by the Division of Immunology and the Department of Pathology. Despite this, the use of all these machines is open to any users within the University. Over the past year we have helped about 70 users from at least 10 institutions, the majority from within the School of Biology.

Data Analysis

We also provide, free of charge, three stand-alone computer workstations for flow data analysis for users of the facility. The Mac G4 has BD Cellquest and FCS Press software. Both PCs run Summit and FlowJo (and in one case Multicycle -a specialised application for cell-cycle analysis). The PCs also have software to help you polish your data for publication (Office, Adobe CC, GraphPad Prism).