The goal of the Flow Cytometry Shared Resource to provide users with cost-effective instrumentation, expertise and training for cell sorting and analysis. This technology continues to develop at a rapid pace, especially with the advent of novel fluorescent reporters, increased computational capacity and more cost-effective optical equipment. To meet our members'increasing demands for state-of-the-art flow cytometry, the DLDCC and BCM administration collaborated to create an entirely new flow cytometry facility in 2007. Renovation, operating costs and instrumentation has been supported by $1.7 million in BCM institutional funds and >$600,000 in DLDCC funds. The revamped Facility is housed in newly renovated, centrally located space, which is available to trained users 24 h a day via key-card access. State-of-the-art instrumentation, all of which has been purchased in the last three years, includes two fully loaded florescence-activated cell sorters, three flow analyzers and a magnetic cell separator. The Resource is directed by Dr, Ellen A. Lumpkin, who has over nine years of experience in flow cytometry, and Mr. Joel Sederstrom, who was recruited from the Univ. of Minnesota's Cancer Center Flow Cytometry Core in a national search. To ensure optimal use of services, the Resource provides consultations, training and protocols for sample preparation, flow analysis and cell sorting. The Resource is also staffed with two full-time experienced flow cytometrists who perform operator-assisted cytometry, and assist users with data analysis. With the Resource's improved services and capacity, FACS sorting has increased by >500% and FACS analysis has increased 160% among Cancer Center members. At present, the Resource operates near 100% of its capacity, with 78% of usage occupied by 65 Cancer Center investigators whose membership spans all Scientific Programs. Future plans include further expanding services by recruiting an additional cytometrist and by including a second site at our affiliated institution, Texas Children's Hospital Cancer Center.
Flow cytometry is essential for Cancer Center members, who rely on this technology to elucidate mechanisms of tumor suppressor and oncogenes, cell-cycle progression, transforming viruses and to evaluate currently prescribed cancer therapies. Flow cytometry is also integral to studies of cancer stem cells, angiogenesis, transcriptional regulation in tumor cells and mechanisms of DNA break and repair.
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