Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting (FACS) is a cutting edge flow cytometry technique that allows the separation of phenotypically different populations of cells for in-depth exploration of fundamental and dynamic mechanisms in functional tissue and live cell cultures. To take advantage of this technology, we are requesting funds to purchase a BD FACSAria Fusion Special Order system FACS machine manufactured by Becton Dickinson Biosciences (BD Biosciences). Currently our sorting capabilities at East Carolina University (ECU) are limited with a FACSVantage that only has two working lasers, is not capable of sorting live human cells, and is no longer serviced. Due to this limitation, ECU currently has investigators traveling more than 100 miles to sort cells at other institutions. The addition of the FACSAria Fusion to our current flow cytometry core will provide our institute with the ability to explore fundamental and dynamic mechanisms in fixed and live cells from both animal and human studies and represents new technology to ECU. The FACSAria Fusion will become part of the ECU Flow Cytometry Core facility that already houses multiple flow cytometers, including a 4 laser BD LSRII, as well as data analysis and flow cytometry training. The ECU Flow Cytometry Core is located in the ECU Brody School of Medicine (BSOM). This core services multiple departments in BSOM as well as the East Carolina Diabetes and Obesity Center (ECDOI) and the main ECU campus. The advanced technology of the FACSAria Fusion, with human flow cytometry capabilities, will provide a unique shared resource for ECU faculty and biotech companies in eastern NC. This application comes from 10 major users and 5 minor users currently funded by both NIH funding or foundation funding. ECU BSOM is committed to paying the salary of the research associate professor Dr. Douglas Weidner, who currently oversees the Flow Cytometry core and performs the cell sorts for users, as well as any additional funds for the machine that is not covered by user fees. The ECU BSOM sees the acquisition of a new cell sorter as an urgent need and is also willing to hire additional help if sorting needs increase beyond Dr. Weidner's capacity and will provide accounting support for the machine. IMPACT: Convenient access to this improved imaging technology will advance research in human health, biotechnology and nanotechnology, increase competitiveness for research funding, play a critical role in the recruitment and retention of faculty, and support economic development in eastern NC. Acquisition of this advanced cell sorting system is essential to support and advance active research programs in cancer, pulmonary, infectious, metabolic, reproductive and cardiovascular diseases. The capabilities of the FACSAria Fusion offer significant enhancements over current sorting facilities at ECU and new technology not currently available at ECU or in eastern NC and is certain to increase the impact of NIH grants submitted and received at ECU.
Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting (FACS) is cutting edge tool that has allowed mechanistic research in individual cell populations that contribute to human health and disease. Having a technology such as FACS at a university will encourage translational biomedical advances in cancer, infectious diseases, cardiac, pulmonary, neuronal and inflammatory disorders.