The flow cytometry core is capable of cytometric analysis, cell sorting and can help with experimental design.

Flow Cytometry offers a full range of educational and cytometric services that include stem cell analysis, immunophenotyping, cell cycle analysis, translocation and co-localisation of cell activation markers, chromatin density, and apoptotic and necrotic analyses. The Facility also performs cell sorting for researchers so that they can isolate cell populations needed for further studies, including stem cell purification and rare cell sorting. 

For any enquiries please email the flow core: flowcytometry@cruk.cam.ac.uk

Costs and charging.

The institute recovers costs from the grants and projects that are working in the core facilities and this is reviewed regularly.  The hourly rates for the instruments and services within the core can be found here: Flow-core-prices-Apr21.   An explanation of how the costs are recovered and the charging bands can be found here: CI charging rates.


Equipment available:

2 FACS Aria cell sorters (BD Biosciences)

These high-speed cell sorters are both equipped with five lasers, a UV, 407 nm, 488 nm, 561 nm and 640 nm. The optical configuration allows researchers to see four UV, six violet, three green, two blue and three red parameters.

S6 Symphony, high parameter, cell sorter (BD Biosciences)

This is a high parameter, high speed, cell sorter contained within a Class II Biological Safety Cabinet, for sorting unscreened live human cells. Equipped with 6 lasers: 355nm, 405 nm, 488 nm, 561 nm, 640 nm and 808nm. Optical configuration allows for 30 fluorescent markers, 8 UV, 8 violet, 6 blue, 5 yellow/green, 4 red and 1 infra-red excitation.

Optical configuration can be found here

FACS Melody cell sorter (BD Biosciences)

This is a simple cell sorter that scientists can use independently and is available 24/7 for sorting.  8 colours from the violet/blue/yellowgreen lasers are particularly suited to fluorescent protein sorts.

A5 FACS Symphony (BD Biosciences)

A very powerful 32 parameter analyser flow cytometer. It has 6 lasers : a UV, violet, blue, yellow/green, red and an infra-red.  Fully configured with 30 fluorescence detectors this can allow for very high parameter analysis.  Equipped with an HTS plate sampler for automated sample throughput.

LSR Fortessa (BD Biosciences)

This is an analytical bench top flow cytometer. 5 lasers: UV, violet, blue, yellow/green and red, with 18 fluorescence parameters, also equipped with the HTS plate sampler.

MacsQuant VYB (Miletnyi)

This is an analytical bench top flow cytometer.  3 lasers : violet, yellow/green and blue (VYB) with 8 fluorescence detectors.  Ideal for simple analysis particularly fluorescent proteins and equipped with a built in plate sampler.

ImageStreamX-Mk2 (Luminex, originally Amnis)

This is a combination of flow cytometry and microscopy. The Image Stream takes a picture of each cell as it passes through a flow cell and gives each individual fluorescent image or a composite image for analysis. In addition to receiving images, all fluorescence is quantitatively analysed. There are violet, blue, green and red lasers that allow up to 12 parameters that can be observed and saved.

Vicells (Beckman Coulter)

These two machines are cell analysers capable of measuring cell viability, cell count, and cell size.


The flow cytometry core also includes the Mass Cytometry instruments.

Helios mass cytometer (Fluidigm)

Mass Cytometry (commonly called CyTOF) uses antibodies labelled with stable metal isotopes instead of fluorescent molecules, with at time-of-flight mass spectrometer as the detector.  This allows the instrument to measure 40+ markers at the same time, on the same cell leading to deep phenotyping of each cell in the sample.  The large number of available metals also means that barcoding and combining samples can reduce sample staining variability.

Hyperion Tissue Imager (Fluidigm)

The Helios mass cytometer coupled to the Hyperion tissue imager enables the same metal tagged antibodies to be used to stain tissue sections, again allowing for deep phenotyping with spatial resolution.