We are excited to start a new educational series on explaining our approaches in biomedical research, which we hope will be useful to the ME/CFS and chronic illness community; both to patients as well as physicians.
For our first topic, we have chosen to explain Flow Cytometry and FACS (Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorting). This will be a mini-series of several blog articles, and is not intended to be too detailed or to serve as an academic introduction, as there are many videos and introductions online that serve that purpose. Instead, we hope to provide a sense of what Flow Cytometry is and how we use it in our research at the JAX CRC.
So why start with Flow Cytometry? For immunologists like us, this instrument is indispensable because we deal with complex mixtures of cells from blood or tissues, and flow cytometry allows us to determine the composition, frequency, and function of each of these different cell types. By identifying specific cell types, we are then able to sort these cell types into pure populations that we can use in downstream experiments or interrogations. Indeed, this technology can sort out any type of cell (even including bacterial cells), provided there is a probe you can use to specifically identify them.
Figure 1. Pictorial of a cell sample moving through the flow cytometer, with cells being sorted based on the fluorescence color they emit, and all the data captured by a computer. FSC is Forward Scattered Light, and SSC is Side Scattered Light. Continue reading “Approaches in Biomedical Research: Flow Cytometry, Part 1”