UCL Cancer Institute


Flow Cytometry Core Facility

The Flow Cytometry Core Facility provides equipment and expertise in flow analysis, cell sorting and mass cytometry to cancer researchers at UCL.

Flow cytometry is a powerful tool that uses lasers to rapidly quantify the fluorescent and light scattering properties of single cells or particles in suspension. Cell components can be labelled with fluorescent dyes to allow different populations to be delineated from the bulk population. Dyes can be used to label and quantify DNA, epitope expression and also for functional assays including oxidative metabolism, apoptosis/viability, calcium flux and proliferation.

The Flow Cytometry Core Facility at the UCL Cancer Institute is equipped with the latest cutting-edge instrumentation with a BD Symphony A5 capable of measuring up to 28 fluorescent parameters including access to the latest fluorescent dye technology and a Helios Mass cytometer capable of measuring >35 parameters simultaneously per cell. The facility also has three 4-laser Fortessa analysers and three cell sorters, one of which is housed in a Class II Biosafety cabinet. Services provided by the facility include Cell Sorting, Mass cytometry and analyser training from beginner to advanced levels.

The Facility is supported by two technicians and the facility manager with many years of cumulative experience. We provide expertise in experimental design for both sorting and analysis as well as technical assistance.


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BD Fortessa X20

We have two Fortessa X20s in the facility, both instruments are equipped with 4 lasers capable of measuring 16 parameters providing a robust and flexible system for researchers in the CI.  Full instrument training is provided to researchers by members of the core facility.



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BD LSR Fortessa C

The LSR Fortessa C is a 4 laser 16 parameter instrument equipped with Violet, Blue, Yellow-Green and Red lasers similar to the Fortessa X20s also in lab 303. In order to use this instrument you will require a DIVA account to be set up – please ask a member of the Core Facility team to do this for you.

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BD FACSymphony

Based off the existing fluorescence technology the Symphony is an advanced analyser equipped with 5 high powered lasers including a 60mW UV laser, advanced electronics and upgraded detector arrays that allow the detection of up to 28 parameters simultaneously.

BD Symphony


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Helios – Mass Cytometer

The latest CyToF instrument from Fluidigm that is capable of measuring greater than 40 parameters simultaneously.  The instrument combines aspects of traditional flow and mass spectrometry measuring mass instead of fluorescence.

Helios Mass Cytometer

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Miltenyi GentleMACS Octo Dissociator

The Miltenyi GentleMACS Octo Dissociator system (with heated cuffs) is a benchtop instrument for the semi-automated and standardized tissue dissociation or homogenization of up to eight samples. Single-cell suspensions or thorough homogenates from virtually any tissues are easily and reproducibly obtained using the unique C Tubes or M Tubes. These single-use gentleMACS Tubes allow sample preparation in a closed and sterile system, providing a high level of user safety and minimize cross-contamination.

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BD FACS Aria Fusion

5 laser sorter capable of measuring 18 parameters and sorting up to 4 distinct population’s simultaneously.  The instrument is housed in a class 2 biosafety cabinet and is operated by members of the core facility. Both sorters are able to sort into different cell collection receptacles including slides, 6/96/384 well plates.

FACS Aria Fusion


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We have two Aria III 3-laser sorters capable of measuring 12 parameters and able to sort up to 4 different populations. Able to sort into different cell collection receptacles including slides, 6/96/384 well plates. Operated by members of the core facility.


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Cell Sorting Service

The facility runs a cell sorting service with facility members of staff working closely with researchers to help develop effective sorting experiments.

Mass Cytometry Service

The facility runs a mass cytometry service running samples for researchers in the institute and ensuring optimal performance of the instrument.

Panel Design and Project Development

The facility provides expertise in panel design and project development helping researchers to get the most out of the instrumentation and the fluorescence/mass technology currently available.

Instrument Training

Training is provided on the analysers to researchers of all levels with the aim of making the state of the art technology accessible to researchers with varying level of expertise.

Software available
  • FlowJo
  • FACSDiva
  • Cytobank




Panel Design tools


Spectral Viewers