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

Operation of our cell sorters (except the Sony SH800) is by FCF staff only. To avail of our cell sorting service, all clients must complete our online training course, “WORK-FLOW“, in addition to a free of charge consultation meeting with our cell sorting manager in advance of their first cell sorting experiment.

  • To request access to the online training course, submit a WORK-FLOW “Flow Cytometry Essentials” Online Course Request (listed under the Training Services category) in iLab.
  • To request a consultation meeting after completion of the online training course, submit a New Client Sorting Consultation Request (listed under the Sorting Services category) in iLab.

Clients with substantial analyzer experience can request training to operate the SH800 cell sorter independently by submitting a Sony SH800 Training Request (listed under the Training Services category) in iLab..

We offer a limited operator assisted acquisition service to clients who are not trained to operate our analytical instruments independently. After consultation with FCF staff about experimental goals and set-up, clients can bring their stained samples to be acquired by an expert operator.

  • To request this service, submit an Assisted Acquisition for LSR Request (listed under the Analyzer Requests category) in iLab.
To operate our analytical instruments independently, clients must complete our online training course, “WORK-FLOW“, in addition to completing our hands-on LSR Training Course.

  • To request access to the online training course, submit a WORK-FLOW “Flow Cytometry Essentials” Online Course Request (listed under the Training Services category) in iLab.
  • To book a place in our LSR Training Course after completion of the online training course, submit an LSR Training Course Request (listed under the Training Services category) in iLab.
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.

The Miltenyi Biotec AutoMACS Pro is an automated column-based magnetic cell separation technology. We currently have one AutoMACS Pro, located at our PMCRT node, that is available for use by clients who have completed our AutoMACS training course.

  • To request training, submit an AutoMACS Training Request (listed under the Training Services category) 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.

We offer a New Client Sorting Consultation service for clients who have not used our cell sorting services previously & a General Sorting Consultation service for existing clients who require additional advice or assistance.

  • Cell sorting consultations can requested by submitting the appropriate request (listed under the Sorting Services category) in iLab.

We also offer a consultation service for all other general enquires or assistance, which can be requested by submitting a  General Consultation Request (listed under the General Requests category) in iLab..

Data Analysis Service:

We offer a data analysis service to clients who are not familiar with flow cytometry data analysis softwares or require additional support with their own data analysis. After consultation with FCF staff about experimental set-up, etc, clients can share their FCS raw data files to be analyzed with their preferred data analysis software (see below).

  • To request data analysis, submit a Data Analysis Service Request (listed in the Data Analysis category) in iLab.

Data Analysis Software:

We currently hold academic site licenses for two popular flow cytometry data analysis softwares: FlowJo 10 (BD Biosciences) & FCS Express 7 (De Novo Software).

Clients can purchase a license for either software through the FCF at a reduced academic rate.

  • To purchase a software license, submit the appropriate request (listed under the Data Analysis category) in iLab.