The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is an independent, non-profit research institute in La Jolla, CA that focuses on basic science research. The institute is supported by ten research centers, including the Salk Cancer Center, which received National Cancer Institute designation in 1973, and is one of only seven Basic Laboratory Cancer Centers in the country. In addition to cancer biology, Salk research programs cover immunology and microbial pathogenesis, aging and regenerative medicine, neuroscience and neurological disorders, and plant biology. Shared resources and cores provide critical support for this research. Thirteen technology cores serve the Institute, including the Flow Cytometry Core Facility, which was established in 2012 during core facility restructuring and is solely dedicated to technologies relating to flow cytometry analysis and fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS). Flow cytometry is a powerful research technology that is heavily utilized by Salk scientists. In recent years, usage of FACS core resources has increased significantly, and the ability to accommodate all requests has only been possible by operating the two existing core sorters at near maximum capacity. However, one sorter, the BD FACSVantage SE, is nearly two decades old. This instrument has limited technical capabilities and decreasing reliability, as it is at or near the end of its practical lifetime. The purpose of this grant application is to address a pressing and unmet need for a replacement instrument, which is proposed to be remedied by acquisition of a BD Biosciences FACSAriaTM equipped with an Automated Cell Deposition Unit. This new instrument will be fully enclosed in a Class II Type A2 biosafety cabinet. The intent is for this new instrument to replace the BD FACSVantage SE, which will be placed on the resale market, donated to a non-profit, or recycled. The Aria Fusion is a best-in-class instrument, exemplary for detection sensitivity. This design complements our existing ?jet-in-air? instrumentation, which has advantages in sorting fragile cells. The intent is to acquire a ?base? non-custom configuration with 4-lasers (405-nm/488-nm/561-nm/640-nm), an entry level configuration that has 11 detectors. Configurations with more detectors are available, but configurations with less detectors can only be obtained by placing a custom order, which results in additional costs. This configuration is becoming increasingly standard in laboratories and research institutes, and has been in heavy demand by Salk users for some time. A final but important benefit of this instrument is its enhanced biosafety features. Along with the Class II Type A2 biosafety cabinet, there are several redundant safety mechanisms to contain sort-generated aerosols. The Salk Institute has a strong track record of demonstrating commitment to the implementation, support, and long-term management of high-end instrumentation. With the experience and expertise provided by the Salk Flow Cytometry Core Facility, this new instrument will be immediately put to a high level of use, thereby facilitating scientific discovery at the Institute, as outlined in the projects of the major and minor users.
Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting (FACS) is a powerful analytical and cell isolation technology widely used at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Funds are requested to replace a dated, but heavily used and increasingly unreliable cell sorter with a BD Biosciences FACSAriaTM Fusion. The proposed instrument will provide powerful capabilities for multi-color FACS, which will aid scientists in their quest to find better cures and treatments for serious illnesses such as cancer, as well as infectious, neurodegenerative, and metabolic diseases.