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Flow Cytometry Research Core Facility

Established in 1995, the Flow Cytometry Research Core Facility serves as an integral part of numerous research projects for investigators from multiple departments and disciplines at Saint Louis University.

In addition to the five available flow cytometers, the core oversees multiple ancillary instruments for use with sample preparation or further analysis. A variety of software programs, including FACSDiva (BD Biosciences), FlowJo (TreeStar), ModFit Lt (Verity Software House) and FCAP Array (BD Biosciences), are also available for use in data analysis. The core staff is here to help all researchers, whether novice or expert in flow cytometry, understand how this powerful technology can benefit your research endeavors.

What is Flow Cytometry?

Flow cytometry, typically using fluorescent probes that bind to specific cell-associated molecules, allows measurements of various phenotypic, biochemical and molecular characteristics of individual cells (or particles) suspended in a fluid stream. As the cells flow past a focused laser beam of appropriate wavelength, probes fluoresce and emitted light is collected and directed to appropriate detectors. These detectors, in turn, translate light signals into electronic signals proportional to the amount of light collected.

Information regarding the relative size and granularity of a cell, for example, is also obtained as these characteristics influence the way in which light is scattered as the cell passes through the laser beam. The use of flow cytometry can be divided into two broad categories, cell analysis and cell sorting.

Flow Cytometry Scheduling

SLU’s Flow Cytometry Research Core Facility is located in room 765 of the Doisy Research Center and is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m Monday through Friday. Contact us to discuss services outside of these hours.

We recommend that you schedule your analysis time at least one week in advance to assure the day and time slot you prefer is available, particularly for long experiments. The FACSAria sorter is often booked up to three to four weeks in advance. Reserve your time as early as possible to avoid conflicts.

Flow Cytometry Sample Submission

Submit samples for flow cytometry analysis by placing them in the designated sample refrigerator just inside the flow core doors. Samples must be received in 12x75mm polystyrene Falcon tubes or 1ml microtubes in a plate rack. (Note that microtubes can be run on LSR II and DxP FACSCalibur only).

You must also submit detailed information about the antibodies/fluorochromes used and the desired gating and acquisition criteria, file naming, etc. You can have your files uploaded to an external memory device to take back to your own lab for data analysis or you may request that the flow core staff analyze the data for you.

An extra computer workstation with FlowJo software loaded onto it is available free of charge for all core users to use when it is available. We highly encourage you to contact the flow core for help with multi-color panel design before purchasing antibodies and for advice on sorting preparation.


All cytometry services are performed at an hourly rate, including the acquisition of samples and analysis. The total time used is rounded up to the next quarter hour (i.e.: 40 minutes of analysis equals 45 minutes billed).

  Aria/SY3200 Analyzers
Internal Customers $97 $71
Internal Customers with Volume Discount1 $80 $55
External Users: Government funds and Not-for-profit $146 $106
External Users: For-profit organizations $176 $128

* Volume discount rates are applied to Sorter Hours over 140 and Analysis hours over 200 in the fiscal year. Hours are reset to zero on July 1st.

There is never a charge for consultations or technical advice. No discount is given to investigators who choose to run their own experiments.

BD Biosciences FACSAria IIIu
  • Four lasers, up to 14-color analysis and high speed sorting of up to four populations simultaneously into plates or tubes
  • Excitation Laser/# of Fluorescent Detectors:
      • 407nm/five channels
      • 488nm/two channels (plus scatter)
      • 561nm/four channels
      • 633nm/three channels
Cytek DxP FACSCalibur
  • Four lasers, up to 12-color analysis
  • Excitation Laser/Number of Fluorescent Detectors:
      • 407nm/four channels
      • 488nm+561nm/five channels, plus scatter
      • 637nm/three channels
BD Biosciences FACSCanto II
  • Two lasers, up to eight-color analysis
  • Excitation Laser/Number of Fluorescent Detectors:
      • 488nm/five channels, plus scatter
      • 633nm/three channels
BD Biosciences LSR II
  • Three lasers, up to 10-color analysis
  • Excitation Laser/Number of Fluorescent Detectors:
      • 405nm/three channels
      • 488nm/four channels, plus scatter
      • 633nm/three channels
Sony Biotechnology SY3200
  • Four lasers, up to 17-color analysis and high speed sorting of up to four populations simultaneously into plates or tubes
  • Located within a dedicated BSL-3 suite for biohazard sorting
  • Excitation Laser/Number of Fluorescent Detectors:
      • 407nm/eight channels
      • 488nm/two channels, plus scatter
      • 561nm/four channels
      • 633nm/three channels

Other Available Instrumentation

LINCO Luminex 100 System
  • Analyzer for multiplex fluorescent bead-based assays
  • $15 per plate analyzed
Miltenyi Biotec AutoMACS Pro
  • Cell selection/depletion/enrichment using magnetic labeled beads
  • $15 per sample run
Thermo Shandon Cytospin 4
  • Produces monolayer cell preps on slides