FACS is a fundamental technology required in all aspects of stem cell research. FACS allows rapid and accurate characterization of stem cell populations as well as isolation of rare stem cells or differentiated cells from contaminating cell populations. Many of the projects in the Stem Cell Institute center around the isolation of cancer stem cells from human samples. Success in such work is dependent upon the speed in which a tumor or blood sample is processed and sorted. Thus, one must be able to access a flow cytometer quickly for studies involving human tumor cells. With quick access to sorters available, each tumor sample can be analyzed in a timely and efficient manner, and data from each precious sample is not compromised by delays in processing because of lack of access to a flow cytometer. To ensure access to cell sorters for all types of stem cell research, Stanford University Stem Cell Institute has established a flow cytometry core for the use of investigators in the Institute. This stand-alone core is designed to house eight state-of-the-art multi-color cell sorters and/or analyzers in the building to augment the services currently provided by the Stanford Shared FACS Facility. This core will have a model of operation that differs from the Stanford Shared FACS Facility. Instead of providing technician-based services, a manager will provide oversight and training on user-friendly instrumentation so that each investigator is able to perform sorts and analysis on their own. This approach will allow for the instruments to be used to the highest capacity, as well as at the convenience of each investigator and their time-dependent samples. The manager will also provide technical help with the more complex sorts, ensure that the instruments are maintained properly, and will perform troubleshooting as necessary. This novel design will allow for critical stem cell sorts to be done efficiently and economically.
All users must be trained and certified before using machines. Because machines are not always available for training time, there is a waiting list for available training. See Cathy Carswell Crumpton for the training schedule.