U of Calgary Flow Cytometry Core Facility Offered

By: Flow Calgary  09-12-2011
Keywords: Flow Cytometry

The University of Calgary Flow Cytometry Facility provides high quality, state-of-the-art flow cytometry services to the Faculty of Medicine, the University community at large, and private researchers. The facility provides comprehensive and technically sophisticated cell analysis and sorting services on a fee for service basis. The facility is committed to providing training and education for all users, who are encouraged to discuss their ideas, needs and problems with the staff. Individual help is provided whenever possible, at no charge. In addition, reliable protocols for specific flow applications are available. Follow the links to the left for details about specific tests, sorting services & computer / data analysis.

What is Flow Cytometry?

Flow cytometry is a sophisticated technique of single cell analysis. It simultaneously measures and analyzes multiple physical characteristics of single particles, usually cells, as they flow in a fluid stream through a beam of light. Some of the characteristics measured include a particle's relative size, granularity or internal complexity and relative fluorescence intensity.

A flow cytometer is composed of three main systems: fluidics, optics and electronics. The fluidics transports the particles in a stream to the laser beam for interrogation. The optics consists of lasers to illuminate the particles in the sample stream and optical filters to direct the resulting light signals to the appropriate detectors. The electronics convert the detected light signals into digital signals that can be processed by the computer. Monoclonal antibodies tagged with a fluorescent dye can be used to identify a particular cell type based on individual surface, cytoplasmic, or nuclear antigens. Different mixtures of fluorochromes can be used to distinguish sub-populations. Dyes, which bind directly to cell components such as DNA and RNA, are used as well. The flow technology provides a powerful and sensitive tool for investigating the structure and function of cells, bacteria and other particles.

Another aspect of flow cytometry is cell sorting. Cell sorting allows us to capture and collect cells of interest for further biochemical, or functional analysis. Cells can selectively be removed from a mixed population based on any number of physical characteristics, for example, size or fluorescence. A voltage charge is applied to drops containing a cell that meets the predefined sorting criteria. Positively and negatively charged plates deflect the charged drops into collection devices such as tubes or plates depending on the charge polarity. Sorted cell preparations can be cultured as sorting can be done under sterile conditions.

Some form of graphical representation is a necessary part of the analysis and interpretation of flow cytometric data. This graphical representation permits visualization of the number and inter-relationship of cell populations and is usually a series of graphs and numerical summaries of the results. There are a wide variety of sophisticated computer programs to assist in the display and analysis of flow data.

Keywords: Flow Cytometry

Contact Flow Calgary

Email - none provided

Print this page