UCL Cancer Institute


Flow Cytometry Core Facility

Flow Cytometry is a method of measuring the fluorescence and scatter properties of cells or particles as they pass through a laser. It is a highly flexible technique with a wide range of assays including cell cycle, cell death and apoptosis, multi-colour phenotyping as well as functional assays such as calcium flux, oxidative burst and intracellular pH change.

An extension of the technology is FACS (Fluorescently Activated Cell Sorting).  A Cell sorter is able to electrostatically separate different cell populations based off their scatter and fluorescent characteristics for further downstream experimentation.

The core facility at UCL Cancer Institute provides expertise in multi-parameter panel design including fluorophore selection and sample acquisition to assistance with data analysis/interpretation. The facility also runs a Cell Sorting Service that is carried out by core staff.

Equipment and specifications

Cell analysis

Fortessa X20

We have two Fortessa X20s equipped with 4 lasers:  Violet (405nm), Blue (488nm), Yellow-Green (560nm) and red (633nm). The instruments are capable of measuring 18 parameters including FSC and SSC.  Instrument bookings are on an internal calendar system. The instruments can become very busy during peak periods and so it is advised to book at least one-two weeks in advance

View parameter list

Accuri C6

The Accuri C6 is a 4-parameter one laser system. It is equipped with a blue (488nm) laser. The instrument can provide absolute counts without the need of beads. This equipment is available via an internal booking system, so if you are interested in using the instrument please contact core facility staff for details: w.day@ucl.ac.uk

Helios Mass Cytometer

Using heavy metal conjugated antibodies instead of fluorescent molecules in order to label and quantify different cellular markers the Helios is able to simultaneous measure 35+ parameters.  It is capable of deep profiling with the ability to combine more parameters than previously possible with fluorescent cytometry.  The instrument is run and maintained by core facility staff providing a sample acquisition service.

Enquiries: William Day w.day@ucl.ac.uk

Helios Mass Cytometer…
BD Symphony

BD flagship instrument with 5 high powered lasers: UV355nm/60mW, Violet 405nm/100mW, Blue 488nm/100mW, Yellow Green 560nm/150mW and Red 633nm/150mW.  It has BD’s latest VPX electronics which provides a higher degree of sensitivity and allows a greater number of detectors per laser line. The instrument is capable of measuring up to 30 parameters including FSC and SSC.

BD Symphony…

Cell sorting

Aria III

The Aria III is equipped with 3 lasers Violet (405nm), Blue (488nm) and red (633nm) and is capable of measuring up 14 parameters including FSC and SSC.  The instrument has three nozzle options 70um, 85um and 100um and is capable of sorting a variety of different cell types. The instrument can sort into different plate formats including 6-well, 96-well and 384-well. Other custom sort layouts are available on request please contact facility members staff for details.

Full parameter list.

Aria Fusion

The Aria Fusion is equipped with 5 lasers, UV (355nm), Violet (405nm), Blue (488nm), Yellow-Green (561nm) and Red (633nm) and is capable of measuring up to 20+ parameters including forward and side scatter.  The instrument also has 70um 85um and 100um nozzles and is capable of plate and index sorting.  The sorter is contained within a class II biosaftey cabinet for additional sample sterility.

Aria Fusion…

Further information

Techniques and protocols

Community and meetings

Panel Design tools


Spectral Viewers: