CyTOF Mass Cytometer Available in Flow Cytometry

Related Core Facilities:

Sunday 09/23/2012

Flow Cytometry acquired a DVS CyTOF “mass cytometry” instrument capable of up to ten times the data output of a traditional flow cytometer.

Conventional flow cytometry uses fluorescent labels in which each different molecule or protein of interest gets a different labeled antibody per experiment. When too many fluorescent labels are used, the wavelengths of the light emitted from the labels can overlap and cause a loss of resolution. Flow cytometry experiments can traditionally detect only 10-15 molecules at once.

Unlike traditional flow cytometers, the CyTOF detects several different metal tagged molecules within a group of cells. The molecules are then detected by the mass differences of the metal tags in a process similar to mass spectrometry. 

Currently 33 different tags are commercially available, but the instrument has sensitivity capable of detecting up to 100 markers with little to no interference.  Mass cytometry experiments will be similar in price per antibody to traditional flow cytometry experiments.

The Flow Cytometry Resource will offer a series of seminars and hands-on training with the CyTOF.  Seminar topics include experimental design, sample preparation, instrument use & data interpretation. Watch the Shared Resources website news section for the announcement of dates.

A limited number of grants are available through the Hartwell Innovation Fund for initial experiments on the machine. The competition for awards through the Hartwell Innovation Fund will provide funds of up to $5,000 in direct costs for one year to support pilot projects in any research area using CyTOF technology. The principle investigator must be a member-track faculty; applications are due Sept. 28.  For more details on the competition and the application form see: