Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center

Flow Cytometry Shared Resource

Facility Director: Marty Bigos, PhD
Faculty Advisor: Garry P. Nolan, PhD


Marty Bigos, PhD, Director, Flow Cytometry Shared Resource
279 Campus Drive West
Beckman Center B015
Stanford, CA 94305-5364
(650) 725-8463 (office)
(415) 845-8450 (mobile)

Catherine Carsell Crumpton, Operations Manager


The Flow Cytometry Shared Resource provides cell analysis and cell sorting services for cancer research in the Stanford community. The mission of the Flow Cytometry Shared Resource is to (1) promote cancer research and training for cell-based assays at the highest level of quality and rigor; (2) bring new developments in instrumentation, technique and analysis for preclinical use in the Stanford research community; and (3) support early clinical trial analysis in patient management. The Flow Cytometry Shared Resource enhances the productivity and effectiveness of research by promoting high-content data acquisition, ensuring the highest data quality and consistency, carrying out efficient cell sorting, providing reliable data management, educating and training researchers and consulting in experiment design and evaluation. Major applications of flow cytometry services include DNA content analysis for tumor biology, immunological characterization of lymphoma cells, stem and immune cell sorting, isolation of key cell population in tumors and definition cell signaling cascades for tumor classification.



The shared resource maintains two user-operated cell analyzers and five staff- or user-operated cell sorters, two of which (FACSAria and FACSVantage SE/Diva) have high-speed and four-way sorting capability. The available cytometers are:

Staff Operators

The shared resource maintains two full-time-equivalent staff operators. The staff operators run the cell sorters for researchers who prefer the service or who are not trained to operate equipment themselves. They also support cell sorter self-operators and cell analyzer users in troubleshooting and in obtaining optimal results.

Data Management and Data Analysis

The Flow Cytometry Shared Resource is served by an integrated computer network that acquires data from each of the resource instruments with owner authentication. A central server archives and manages all collected data and serves data over the internet for analysis.   Data on the server are archived both to DVDs for the system and to CDs to be distributed to the researcher/owner of the data.

The shared resource offers software FacsXpert (developed with the Herzenberg laboratory) that facilitates the design and implementation of protocols for FACS experiments and opens access to High-Dimensional (6-12 color) FACS studies to novices and intermediary FACS users. Additionally, FlowJo (TreeStar) data analysis software is available for download for users’ local computers.

Education, Training and Consultation

The Flow Cytometry Shared Resource provides user education and trains researchers to operate analyzers and sorters. Consultation in experiment design, data analysis, data interpretation, etc., is provided as needed, usually by the facility director and faculty advisors.


This shared resource operates in a suite of seven rooms in the Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine. Four of the rooms house a cell sorter and are equipped for high-power water-cooled lasers. The fifth cell sorter and the two cell analyzers do not require special utilities. Researchers authorized to operate Flow Cytometry Shared Resource instruments have access to the facilities 24 hours per day, seven days per week.


A website orients new users to the services offered and the procedures for accessing the shared resource. A registration form, available for download, is completed and returned to the shared resource. Once a user is registered, scheduling of instrument use and operator support is accomplished through a web-based calendar that operates on a first-come, first-served basis. New users are encouraged to consult with shared resource director and staff in designing experiments. Users are able to operate selected equipment after training has been completed. Training is offered weekly as needed. Use of equipment is tracked based on the login activity of user accounts. Accounts are billed at the end of each month, and detailed charges are sent to lab account administrators.

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