Flow Cytometry is the technology that allows rapid measurement of individual cells or particles as they pass through a high intensity light source (normally a laser beam). Flow cytometers measure two types of light signals (1) light scatter in 2 or more directions that can be used to indicate the particle’s size and complexity. (2) Fluorescence which is normally associated with the binding of fluorescent probes to cellular markers, nucleic acid, organelles or indicators of cellular metabolism. The real power of flow cytometry is that all the measured parameters can be correlated to allow precise identification and separation of subsets of cells with diverse properties and functions.
Here in the WIMM most research groups make use of the Flow Cytometry Facility for a wide range of applications. These include phenotyping to study changes in cell types following disease or vaccination; studies of oncology that include measuring markers of diagnostic importance; cell cycle studies and identification of cancer stem cells. There are numerous other applications including measurement of markers that are involved in cell development in haematology, stem cell biology and inherited human diseases. As well as cell analysis the other major function of the Flow Cytometry Facility is to sort highly purified cells from blood or other biological samples. It is possible to sort millions of cells in a few minutes but in contrast it is also possible to sort a single cell found amongst several million for subsequent detailed analysis in the Single Cell Facility.
The Flow Cytometry Facility provides all researchers at the WIMM with access to state of the art instrumentation for cell analysis and sorting. The Facility’s four full-time staff members can provide expert cell sorting services and training for self-operation of cell analysers. Advice can be offered on all aspects of instrument setup, operation and data analysis. The Facility is equipped with 9 cell analysers: 1 x Cyan ADP (3 laser, 9 colours); 3 x Attune NxT (4 laser, 14 colours); LSR II (5 laser, 17 colours); LSR Fortessa (4 laser, 15 colours); 2 x LSR Fortessa X20 (4 laser, 16 colours) and LSR Fortessa X50 (5 laser, 28 colours). In addition the Facility also houses 5 cell sorters: FACSAria II (4 laser, 15 colours); FACSAria III (5 laser, 15 colours); 2 x FACSAria Fusion (4 laser, 16 colours); Sony SH800 (4 laser, 6 colours).
We welcome enquiries from researchers from other departments at the University of Oxford and from external organisations. Please email the Flow Cytometry Facility directly for more information. The Facility Manager will advise you of current availability in the facility and prices.