Flow Cytometry Core
CSCI Flow Cytometry is a comprehensive shared resource center (SRL) that provides the Columbia University community access to high-end flow cytometry analytical and cell sorting tools and associated services.
It is our mission to provide well-maintained, quality controlled, and monitored instrumentation, access to all technical information available to operate flow cytometry instrumentation and execute high-quality experiments, and access to the instrumentation on a flexible basis.
We strive for quality, consistency and robustness in the work performed in our facility, and we make all efforts to ensure the success of each flow cytometry experiment.
Our model emphasizes independent access to both cell sorter and cell analyzer technology. To this end, we provide a comprehensive training program and support for researchers who pursue this mode of instrument usage. This training program consists of both classroom-based and on-instrument training. Core staff is always physically present in the facility space, so guidance is at-hand when needed.
During staffed hours, from 9AM-6PM, Monday-Friday, instruments are set up and quality-control checked so users can immediately begin to set up their experiments with confidence that the instruments are performing properly. For users who wish to use the instruments during unstaffed days (weekends and holidays), an additional training component is offered which includes startup, quality control, and more in-depth troubleshooting aspects. For these “super users”, the instruments can be used on a 24/7 basis.
For users who do not plan on using the cell sorters extensively, we also offer assisted cell sorting and analyzer sessions during staffed hours.
- Access to state-of-the-art flow cytometry and cell sorting instrumentation
- Comprehensive training for independent operation of flow cytometer analyzers and sorters
- Self-service cell sorting
- Operator-assisted cell sorting
- Technical assistance and experimental support, including experimental panell design and data analysis
- Access to supporting technology, including the Luminex-200, BioMark HD, and QuantStudio 7 Flex real-time PCR systems
We offer flow cytometry services held to the highest standards of quality and reproducibility and are skilled in flow cytometric assays and sorting of a diverse range of cell and tissues types.
Each sort performed in CSCI Flow Cytometry is configured to ensure the highest purity and recovery possible, and instrument setup is tailored to each unique cell type. Our active engagement in users’ experiments allows us to ensure the highest chance of success of each experiment.
Access and Policies
Please refer to the Getting Started and Facility Policies document for an explanation of core operations and the process of beginning to use our services.
CSCI Flow Cytometry Uses iLab for scheduling and billing
Staffed Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 AM - 6 PM
Fully-Trained Users: 24/7
Instrument training is offered on an as-needed basis that is limited only by staff and instrument availability. Training is hands-on, and CSCI Flow Cytometry will provide materials and documentation to ensure that all users feel comfortable and confident on the instruments. Training for the cell sorters and cell analyzers is billed at $85 per hour. Due to the relative simplicity of operating the Luminex, BioMark, and QuantiStudio, training is offered at no charge.
Please note that achieving full confidence on the instrument requires more time than the training session alone. CSCI Flow Cytometry staff is always on hand to help if need be, especially during the first several independent experiments.
Reservations and Cancellations
The reservation and cancellation policy depends on whether the user is part of a CSCI member lab (both Full and Affiliate members) or a non-member lab.
All cancellations that occur after the respective deadlines will result in full charge of the reserved time.
Up to 30 days prior
Up to 7 days prior
No later than 4 hours before the reservation
No later than 24 hours before the reservation
Note that iLab permits only one set of scheduling and cancellation privileges. All users, whether part of CSCI labs or not, may book time in iLab up to 30 days in advance. However, all reservation requests require approval, and bookings will only be approved if they adhere to the scheduling policies detailed above.
All reservation requests will be approved or denied as soon as possible, up to 24-hours after they have been submitted.
Trained users may operate the instruments independently without restrictions. However, this privilege is dependent on users both demonstrating proficiency with the technology and, most importantly, respect for the instrumentation, core policies, and other users.
Independent operators are expected to strictly follow all standard operating protocols. These protocols are designed to maintain the instruments in working order. Machine cleaning must be rigorously followed. Additionally, in the event of any issue or problem encountered during operation, core staff must be notified immediately so that a resolution can be implemented. Accidents and mistakes do happen, but it is extremely important that we know about any problems so that they don’t affect other users.
Users are expected to check iLab and shutdown the instrument they are using if no one has scheduled a session afterwards. If an instrument is left on, CSCI Flow Cytometry reserves the right to charge the user for the duration of time that the instrument was left on.
While we will make all efforts to help users off-hours, we cannot guarantee that someone will be available. Please reach out if you encounter a problem, and we will do our best to help you resolve it remotely. The cytometer computers are equipped with Team Viewer, which allows us to connect and control the computer remotely.
While CSCI Flow Cytometry will make all efforts to safeguard the data on the cytometer computers, we ultimately cannot be responsible for users’ data. Data must be exported from the instrument computers immediately after the experiment is completed. Please use the OneDrive account that is associated with your CUIMC Office365 account. USB drives are not permitted to be connected to any of the instrument computers.
Additionally, in order to maintain the integrity of the FACSDiva databases and to maximize available hard drive space, a data purge is performed on a bimonthly basis. Both FACSDiva experiments and FSC files, generated more than two months before the date of the data purge, will be deleted from the cytometer computers. An email notice will be sent to users approximately one week before the deletion, and it is the users’ responsibility to export and archive all data as needed before it is deleted.
Data Analysis Shared Computer
A dedicated analysis workstation is available in the facility. Please reserve this computer through iLab. There is no charge for this service. FlowJo is available for data analysis.
What our users are saying about us:
I have worked with the CSCI flow cytometry core for various types of experiments and I could not be happier with the results or experience! Most of my experiments have involved sorting proprioceptive sensory neurons neurons (both embryonic and adult) into 96-well plates for single cell RNAseq. Our scRNA sequencing consistently detects about 6,000-8,500 genes/cell, indicating that the equipment (FACSAria “Jupiter" in my case) does not have a negative impact on the viability of the sorted neurons. In addition, the facility is extremely accommodating with respect to scheduling, and it's manager (Mike Kissner) is very much adept in optimizing sorting parameters if need be. It's very clear that Mike really cares just as much– if not more! - about the results as I do!
Joriene De Nooij, Motor Neuron Center
My experiments take months to set up making every FACS sample precious. However, the care, thoroughness and level of knowledge at the CSI core make me confident that I will obtain the best possible results from each experiment! I have been sorting fluorescently labeled, primary cortical neurons for both single cell and bulk sequencing. The RNA quality for bulk sorts always yields high RIN values and concentrations consistent with the number of sorted cells, and the viability for my 10x single cell seq has been up to 80% (which is amazing for my finicky cells)! While the results speak for themselves, it is Mike’s dedication to the success of my experiments which have made it a pleasure to sort at the CSI core. My sorts always begin on time, and Mike is very accommodating with scheduling, allowing everyone to maximize their time with the sorters. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the core to anyone. No matter how complicated or stressful your sort, you will feel that your cells are in good hands!
Marcela Carmona, Rui Costa Lab
The CSCI Flow Core is reliable, flexible and easy to use. I’ve been using the BD ARIAs for both sorting and flow cytometry, and I can sign up for as little as 30 minutes because I know that each time the machine is up and running, has been calibrated and is ready to use. I appreciate that the machines are maintained in excellent condition: I’ve sorted live cells for both continued culture as well as for single-cell sequencing on the 10X Genomics platform, both of which yielded good results. I’ve also been able to extract high-quality RNA from fixed, immunostained and sorted cells using both the ARIAs without having to prep the machine separately to reduce RNase contamination. Most importantly, the staff are amazing - Mike and Daniel are always available (even by phone if they are away) to help out if anything comes up, and I’ve also been able to learn a lot about the machines and their various uses from conversations with them.
Sumin Jang, Hynek Wichterle Lab
Director of Operations
Michael has spent the past several years involved in flow cytometry in several roles that have given him a unique perspective of the field. His first exposure to the technology was in Diana Laird’s laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco, where he used cell sorting to purify primordial germ cells to study germ cell development in the mouse. After a role as a Scientist at Partec North America, a manufacturer and distributor of analytical flow cytometry equipment, Michael assumed the role of manager of the Broad Center Cell Analysis and Sorting core facility, which served the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine at UCSF. This core facility maintained three cell sorters and an analyzer and served a large group of users with broad research interests from both the Eli and Edythe Broad Center as well as users in the UCSF community at-large. After UCSF, Michael joined Bio-Rad Laboratories to participate in the launch of the S3e benchtop cell sorter. Michael’s most recent position was at Propel Labs, a small engineering company with extraordinary expertise in designing flow cytometry instrumentation. Michael was a part of the launch team for the high-parameter YETI (now Bio-Rad ZE5) analyzer and worked closely with engineers, scientists, and early-adopter YETI customers to finalize the development the product. At Columbia, Michael manages all aspects of the CSCI Flow Cytometry, which maintains several high-end, high-performance, and well-maintained flow cytometry and cell sorting equipment. In his spare time, Michael enjoys spending time with his dog, Cooper, and cat, Sebastian, tending his indoor garden, watching movies, and cooking.
Daniel earned his MS in Biology from Rutgers University where his research focused on molecular ecology, evolution, and entomology. During his time at Rutgers, Daniel worked on a variety of research projects including examining the population genetics of migratory dragonflies. Following graduation, he gained experience working in a medical microbiology diagnostics laboratory, as well as performing pre-clinical trial data analysis for FDA submission, prior to joining the CSCI Flow Cytometry Core. As a CSCI Flow Cytometry team member, Daniel works to ensure high-quality results from our flow cytometry experiments by maintaining a variety of high-performance cytometry equipment and assisting users.