What is Flow Cytometry?

Flow Cytometry Shorts
Webinar Series: Controls

Presented by: Sharon Sanderson, PhD, Flow Cytometry Research Associate at Bio-Rad

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Build multicolor flow cytometry panels in just a few simple steps Build multicolor flow cytometry panels in just a few simple steps

Introduction to Flow Cytometry – Basics Guide Get your own Introduction to
Flow Cytometry Basics Guide

Flow cytometry is a scientific method used to measure and characterize cells in a fluid as it passes through one or multiple lasers.

In flow cytometry, cells are fluorescently labeled using antibodies conjugated to fluorochromes, which emit light of different wavelengths upon excitation by a specific laser.

For a full introduction to this subject feel free to take a look at our Flow Cytometry Basics Guide.

Common characteristics measured in a flow cytometry experiment are cell size, relative granularity and relative fluorescence; standard procedures performed are cell counting, cell sorting, biomarker detection and protein engineering.

In diagnostics, flow cytometry is routinely used to detect and distinguish between benign and malignant hematopoietic disorders such as various leukemia and lymphoma types.

Tips and tricks

  1. Familiarize yourself with your flow cytometer. Most new cytometer’s will have three lasers or more (lasers: violet, blue and red). Yellow lasers are rare and are mainly used for the detection of fluorescent proteins, such as GFP, in bacteria or yeast.
  2. Once you know your flow cytometer set-up determine your specific configuration (e.g. what detectors are included in the cytometer). Together with the lasers these provide information on which and how many colors can be simultaneously detected (for a new cytometer this would be 5 or more).

View all Ten tips and tricks for the design of multi-color flow panels .