Using the Facility
The Flow Cytometry Laboratory (Flow Lab) is approved by the Institutional Biosafety Committee to handle samples of biosafety level 2 (BSL2) and below. Cytometers create aerosols. All users must be able to provide the Flow Lab with a Biosafety Protocol number that indicates that all materials brought to the Flow Lab are at a BSL2 or lower and approved for use on a sorter or benchtop cytometer. Please contact the Biosafety Office if necessary.
The Office of Biological Safety and the Institutional Biosafety Committee are in the process of transitioning paper Biosafety Protocols into Bio-ARROW, the online Biosafety Protocol Form. View the Bio Protocol - ARROW website view the Flow Cytometry Guidance - Bio-ARROW document.
Samples exceeding BSL-2 cannot be analyzed or sorted in the Flow Lab unless the biohazards are inactivated through fixation. Please review our Flow Cytometry Standard Operating Procedures (pdf). All samples for sorting must be listed on your lab's biological safety protocol and approved by the Office of Biological Safety.
The Flow Cytometry Lab has two locations: Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research (WIMR) Room 7016 (laboratory) and 7003 (office), and McArdle Building Room 118.
- Attend Introduction to Flow Cytometry lecture series which is offered monthly.
- Create an account in the iLab scheduling system.
- If you have not used the Flow Lab before, refer to the above section, Prior to Using the Flow Lab.
- Please make appointments to use the Flow Cytomtery Equipment.
- Make note of the cancellation, no show and login password policies noted in the online scheduler. Remember that you may need a lead time of at least 96 hours for benchtop analysis and as much as two weeks for sorting. Plan ahead.
- We encourage all users to learn to run the benchtop cytometers themselves. Attendance at the monthly lecture series is required for all benchtop training sessions. Once you have the attended the lecture series, make an appointment for Training.
- If you have not been trained to run the cytometers, or if you need assay-specific instruction, make an Assisted Benchtop appointment. Email us about experimental design, fluorochrome selection, and appropriate instrumentation.
- Access to self-appointments is restricted until you are able to operate the instrument(s) independently.
If you encounter scheduling difficulties or problems finding appropriate times for your experiments, always contact Flow Lab staff. We can help.
- The Flow Lab is staffed from 8am-6pm Monday through Friday. We will accommodate requests after hours only if arrangements are made well in advance.
- The Flow Lab is available at all times to trained users.
- Benchtop analyzers are user-operated. We strongly encourage all users to learn to operate these cytometers. Attendance at the introductory lecture series is required before instruction will be provided. If you have not used the Flow Lab before, refer to the section above, Prior to Using the Flow Lab.
- All users are expected to learn basic data analysis.
- The sorting cytometers are staff-operated only.
- The Flow Lab is closed on: Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve through New Year's Day and the Friday of our annual regional meeting (usually early Fall).
- Benchtop cytometers, microscope:
Online cancellation up to 12 hours before appointment. Less than 12 hours before the appointment, cancellations cannot be made online and the Flow Lab must be called to cancel to avoid a penalty. Cancellations made less than 12 hours before an appointment may be subject to billing for total time scheduled.
Online cancellation up to 24 hours prior to the appointment. Cancellations cannot be made online less than 24 hours before the appointment. Please call the Flow Lab to cancel if less than 24 hours before a sort to avoid charges. The facility maintains a wait list for these cancellations. Sorting appointments cancelled with less than 24 hours notice will be billed for a minimum of one hour of sorting time.
- No shows:
Failure to keep an appointment will result in a charge for the amount of time scheduled.
- You must provide all the supplies necessary to analyze or sort your samples. These include: sample tubes (12 X 75 mm FALCON round bottom polystyrene), dilution buffers, propidium iodide or other vital dye, and serum for cell collection after sorting.
- Check your samples. If there are visible particulates, the samples must be filtered before being placed on the cytometers. All samples to be placed on the sorters must be filtered just prior to the sort. The Flow Lab will provide these filters.
- You are responsible for keeping users of the Flow Lab safe. You are required to inform us via the online appointment form if your samples contain a biohazard.
- You must use disposable gloves when operating the cytometer.
- You are responsible for cleaning the area around the cytometer after its use. Dispose of sample tubes in the appropriate containers and wipe up any spills.
- You are also responsible for the care of the instrument when you complete your analysis. The staff will instruct you on proper instrument care at the end of your run.
- Our biosafety cabinet is available for general use, unless posted. No yeast or bacteria allowed in the cabinet or incubator.
- You are the primary caretaker of your data. Data is acquired on a cytometer and immediately transferred to our data server. You may download the data to your own computer, bring a medium to store the data or access the server from your own computer. We will provide you with instructions when you use the facility.
- The server is for current raw data only. You are responsible for coming to the Flow Lab and collecting older data. You may not place analyzed data, power point presentations or old data on the server.
- Offline computers are available for analysis. You may schedule a computer or may use them on a first come/first served basis.
- There is no charge for the use of these computers.
- We are available to teach data analysis, but please check with us to schedule a time.
Call the Flow Lab to discuss experimental design, protocol development, data analysis or one-on-one data analysis at a computer station with one of the staff of the flow facility.