What services does FCF offer?

  • individual advise in designing Flow Cytometry based experiments
  • advise in sample preparation by providing state-of-the-art protocols for cell preparation from mouse and human tissues and cell staining
  • access to antibodies to allow for proper compensation and control of staining specificity
  • hands-on training on FACS analysis using BD FACS Canto. The FACS Canto is open to all users and allows complex multi-colour analyses of cell populations.
  • cell sorting under safety level S1 conditions as a service according to user demands
  • advice in interpretation of experimental data
  • seminars informing about opportunities, basic principles and recent advances in flow cytometry
  • Unique possibility of cell analysis in Germany - Utilization of our new spectral flow cytometer FACS Aurora (Cytec): Aurora detects full spectrum of a fluorochrome, rather than just peak emission and allows the simultaneous analysis of fluorochromes with similar peak emission, but distinct spectra. Now it is possible to create and measure new color panels with up to 24 parameters and to use information on autofluresce to describe particel/cell properties. This allows you to analyze significantly more parameters and new/diverse fluorescent dyes in one panel.

Who can use the service offered by FCF?

In the first instance, FCF is open to all members of the medical faculty of RWTH Aachen. Depending on utilised capacity scientists from other research institutes are also welcome to use our services.

Why will you profit from using FCF based services?

Flow Cytometry is the gold-standard technology for purification and analysis of cells with complex phenotypes and facilitates research in all priority fields of the medical faculty. Technical advances in flow cytometry have set the ground for breakthrough discoveries in cell biology, immunology, molecular medicine and translational medicine.

The complexity of FACS technology creates hurdles for the individual scientist to make full use of Flow Cytometry. The FCF enables use of flow cytometry across disciplines and allows for the purification of highly defined cell populations. Cell purification is still limited to Safety level S1 material, but in near future we will be able to extend this service to potentially infectious primary human cells and biosafety level 2 materials.

The FCF will furthermore advise you in the planning, execution and interpretation of FACS experiments.

Flow Cytometry – How does it work?

Flow Cytometry simultaneously measures and analyses multiple properties of single particles as they pass a beam of laser light.

Measured parameters include particle size, granularity and relative fluorescence intensities. “Particles” can be single eukaryotic cells, microorganisms, or even non-cellular particles. Sophisticated staining will not only reveal information about surface markers, but can be extended to cytosolic, nuclear or secreted molecules, identification of posttranslational modifications etc.

Flow cytometry supports the analysis of cells with complex phenotypes. Besides cell analysis a major application of Flow Cytometry is the physical separation and thereby purification of well-defined cells/particles from a heterogeneous population in a process called cell sorting. FACS-based cell purification allows for unmatched definition of cell phenotypes and is essential to obtain highly purified and well defined cell populations for further analysis, including in vivo cell transfers and “omics” technologies.

  Flow Cytometry based cell sorting using BD FACS Aria Copyright: FCF

Flow Cytometry based cell sorting using BD FACS Aria: Within the flow cell, individual cells pass a laser beam and detection system that allows for the detection of up to 11 parameters including particle size, granularity and relative fluorescence intensities. Cells of interest become electrically charged and then deflected in an electric field and sorted into tubes, multi-well plates or onto slides.