Flow Cytometry instrument components

Flow Cytometry Facility

The Flow Cytometry Facility (FCF) is jointly operated by The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and the University Health Network (UHN). We provide academic and corporate clients access to several state-of-the-art analytical flow cytometers, high-speed cell sorting services. We also offer comprehensive training and education as well as expert consultation services to enable our users to utilize this technology to enhance the scope and quality of their research. We are conveniently located in the heart of Toronto’s Discovery District, in the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning (PGCRL) and in the Princess Margaret Cancer Research Tower (PMCRT).

Overview of Services

Clients are trained by our staff to run these instruments without assistance. Please see Instrumentation for a listing of available instruments and configurations. For training, visit our training section. Once trained, users can book instruments through our iLab online booking system.

We provide operator assisted data acquisition on our analytical flow cytometers. After consultation with an operator about experimental goals and set-up, clients can bring their stained samples to the FCF to be run be on an analytical cytometer by a skilled operator. To book an assisted acquisition appointment on an analytical flow cytometer, submit an Assisted Acquisition for LSR request (listed under Special Assistance category) in iLab.

Operation of the cell sorters (except for the Sony SH800) is by FCF staff only. Before clients can use cell sorting services they must complete online educational materials (visit our training section to learn more).

All new sort clients must also submit a Sorting Consultation request (listed under Special Assistance category) in iLab in advance of their first cell sorting experiment. First time sorting consultations are free of charge. Cell sorting reservations and consultation requests can be made in iLab.

For available cell sorters, see Instrumentation.

Magnetic cell separation technology (using a magnet to separate cells labelled with superparamagnetic particle conjugated antibodies) can be used to enrich heterogeneous cell samples for particular cell populations prior to sorting, or as an endpoint itself (e.g. positive selection of CD11c+ DC, generation of lineage negative cells for adoptive transfer). Our facility has two AutoMACS Pro cell separators available to trained clients, visit our training section to learn more. AutoMACS reservations can be made in iLab.

We provide expert consultation services to enable our clients to utilize cytometry technology to enhance the scope and quality of their research. This includes assistance with experimental design/planning, panel design, optimal sample preparation, use of appropriate experimental controls, troubleshooting and protocol development.

For cell sorting consultations, submit a Sorting Consultation request (listed under Special Assistance category) in iLab. For all other flow cytometry consultations, submit a General Consultation request (listed under Special Assistance category) in iLab.