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The Flow Cytometry Facility at the MRC Toxicology Unit provides state-of-the-art equipment, software, training and expertise in flow cytometry analysis and cell sorting.

Flow cytometry is a powerful tool for analysing and sorting individual cells or particles by passing them one at a time through one or more laser beams. We can obtain information about cell size and shape, whether they are dead or alive, and about the molecules inside and on the surface of the cells. Apart from analysing the intrinsic properties of cells, flow cytometry examines fluorescence intensities expressed on the cell surface or intracellularly. It is a versatile and high throughput technique.

Flow cytometry has two types of instruments: Analysers that can be used for cell analysis only or cell sorters which can perform cell analysis and cell sorting simultaneously. Both types of instruments can look at more than 20,000 cells per second providing rapid information about the characteristics of the cells in that sample. Cell sorters can separate different populations of cells into ‘individual tubes’ or plates for further experiments.

The Unit’s Flow Cytometry Facility works with our research groups to help them answer their scientific questions by providing expert advice when planning experiments, troubleshooting issues and interpreting flow cytometry results. The Facility also keeps up to date with the latest techniques and tools in flow cytometry to provide the most cutting-edge support to Unit researchers.

The facility offers:

  • High-end cell sorting: our team of experienced cytometrists are the only operators of this instrument
  • Training for the self-use cell analysers: 3 high-end analysers are available
  • Consultation and assistance on the design of experiments, sourcing and supply of reagents, data analysis, presentation and interpretation as well as troubleshooting machines and experiments.

Access and training:

The Flow Cytometry Facility is open to all members of the Unit.

In-house training to use the flow cytometers analysers is provided upon request. New users should contact for training, and experimental set up advice.


Flow Cytometry Facility Manager: Lucia Piñon P. Giraldez