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What do Flow Cytometry Users Have to Say?

Learn some of the common problems users experience from our latest flow cytometer survey results.

By Erica Tennenhouse

Flow cytometry is a powerful technology that allows researchers and clinicians to perform complex cellular analysis quickly and efficiently by analyzing several parameters simultaneously. The technique, whereby cells suspended in a stream of fluid are passed through an electronic detection apparatus, is used for cell counting, cell sorting, and biomarker detection, among other applications.

Top 5 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Flow Cytometer

  1. What type of information can you obtain in terms of cell-based assays at the level of individual cells?
  2. How does the company’s technology improve your level of confidence in flow data?
  3. How does the learning curve of the instrument’s software compare to competitive offerings?
  4. Will you be able to perform assays on this instrument without extensive experience?
  5. Can the company provide some key differentiators regarding their system(s)?

Research applications of flow cytometry, according to survey respondents:

Immunophenotyping 45%
GFP and RFP detection 39%
Cancer 32%
Stem cells 32%
Cell proliferation 32%
Cell cycle analysis 16%
Apoptosis 16%
Microbiological applications 16%
Marine sample analysis 6%
Other 6%

Most common problems users experience when using their flow cytometer:

Low event rate 50%
No signal/weak signal intensity 39%
Two or more cell populations observed when there should be one 32%
High side scatter background 29%
High background/high percentage of positive cells 21%
High signal intensity 14%
High event rate 4%

Factors that would help users overcome their flow cytometry challenges:

Newer equipment
Better training
Better technical support
Improved maintenance
Newer accessories
More staff

Some of the most exciting applications for flow cytometry, as reported by users:

Immunophenotyping is a technique used to identify various cell populations. Antibodies identify cells by detecting specific antigens expressed on the cell surface, in the cytoplasm or the nucleus of the cells.

For more information on flow cytometers, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

Categories: Surveys

Published In

Employee Satisfaction

Published: September 8, 2017

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