3 – Data analysis

We Tested 5 Major Flow Cytometry SPADE Programs for Speed - Here Are The Results

By: Tim Bushnell, PhD

In the flow cytometry community, SPADE (Spanning-tree Progression Analysis of Density-normalized Events) is a favored algorithm for dealing with highly multidimensional or otherwise complex datasets. Like tSNE, SPADE extracts information across events in your data unsupervised and presents the result in a unique visual format. Given the growing popularity of this kind of algorithm for dealing with complex datasets, we decided to test the SPADE algorithm in 5 software packages, including Cytobank, FCS Express, FlowJo, R, and the original, free software made available by the author of SPADE. Which was the fastest?

5 FlowJo Hacks To Boost The Quality Of Your Flow Cytometry Analysis

By: Tim Bushnell, PhD

FlowJo is a powerful tool for performing and analyzing flow cytometry experiments, if you know how to use it to the fullest. This includes understanding embedding and using keywords, the FlowJo compensation wizard, spillover spreading matrix, FlowJo and R, and creating tables in FlowJo. Extending your use of FJ using these hacks will help organize your data, improve analysis and make your exported data easier to understand and explain to others. Take a few moments and explore all you can do with FJ beyond just gating populations.

Statistical Challenges Of Rare Event Measurements In Flow Cytometry

By: Tim Bushnell, PhD

It is necessary to sort through hundreds of thousands or millions of cells to find the few events of interest. With such low event numbers, we move away from the comfortable domain of the Gaussian distribution and move into the realm of Poisson statistics. There are 3 points to consider to build confidence in the data that the events being counted are truly events of interest and not random events that just happen to fall into the gates of interest.

How to Optimize Flow Cytometry Hardware For Rare Event Analysis

By: Tim Bushnell, PhD

Preparing for rare event analysis requires an understanding of the power and limitation of the instrument to be used. From how fast to run the fluidics, to how the signal is processed to the number of gates that can be used in the sorting experiment, each factor impacts the outcome of the experiment.

How To Choose The Correct Antibody For Accurate Flow Cytometry Results

By: Tim Bushnell, PhD

With the added emphasis on reproducibility, it is critical to look at every step where experiments can be improved. No single step makes an experiment more reproducible, rather it is a process, making changes at each stage that leads to reproducibility. Antibodies comprise a critical component that needs to be reviewed. As Bradbury et al. in a commentary in Nature pointed out, the global spending on antibodies is about $1.6 billion a year, and it is estimated about half of that money is spent on “bad” antibodies. This does not include the additional costs of wasted time and effort by…

How To Achieve Accurate Flow Cytometry Calcium Flux Measurements

By: Tim Bushnell, PhD

Dyes exist for the detection of everything from large nucleic acids to reactive oxygen species, and from lipid aggregates to small ions. Concentrations of physiologically important ions such as sodium, potassium, and calcium can be important indicators of health and disease. Calcium ions play an especially critical role in cellular signaling. As a signaling messenger, calcium is involved in everything from muscle contractions, to cell motility, to enzyme activity. Calcium experiments can be very informative, and with the advent of cheaper UV lasers, more and more researchers can use ratiometric measurements to evaluate the signaling processes in phenotypically defined populations.

How to Perform Doublet Discrimination In Flow Cytometry

By: Tim Bushnell, PhD

You are probably familiar with the term, “doublet discrimination” or “doublet exclusion”, and have likely included this flow cytometry measurement into at least some (if not all) of your gating strategies. Even though you may utilize this important gating strategy, you may not have had the chance to delve deeper to explore exactly what doublets are and why it’s critical to exclude them. This article aims to give you insight on the what, why, and how of doublet discrimination.

4 Considerations For Assessing Protein Phosphorylation Using Flow Cytometry

By: Tim Bushnell, PhD

For those working in the signaling field, having the ability to take a sample and phenotypically identify it, while knowing what is happening inside the cell to the target molecules of choice opens up a host of new opportunities. These assays are amenable to high throughput setup, meaning that biologically relevant outcomes in pre-clinical drug discovery can be measured directly. All told, with a little forethought, some careful planning and validation, and our helpful tips, phosphoflow assays are within your reach.

5 Essential Calculations For Accurate Flow Cytometry Results

By: Tim Bushnell, PhD

Flow cytometry is a numbers game. There are percentages of a population, fluorescence intensity measurements, sample averages, data normalization, and more. Many of these common calculations are useful, but surrounded by misconceptions. This primer will help you decide which calculation to use, when to use it, and how to interpret the results.

Measuring Receptor Occupancy With Flow Cytometry

By: Tim Bushnell, PhD

Measuring the receptor occupancy of a given target showcases the power of flow cytometry. With the right reagents, best practices, and attention to detail, this assay can become a mainstay in your research toolkit. It extends quantitative flow cytometry to the next level, to determine a complete biological picture of how efficiently a given target is being bound. This also serves as the basis for even more fine-analysis when combined with assessment of downstream targets that the engagement of the receptor by the target antibody may affect. Phosphorylation, cell cycle arrest, and protein expression are all within reach, resulting in…

How To Perform A Flow Cytometry t-Test

By: Tim Bushnell, PhD

The ultimate goal of any experiment is to analyze data and determine whether it supports or disproves a given hypothesis. To do that, scientists turn to statistics. If we wish to compare either a single group to a theoretical hypothesis, or two different groups, and these groups are normally distributed, the test of choice is the Student’s t-Test. To perform the t-Test, it is critical to start from the beginning of the experiment to establish several parameters, including the type of test, the null hypothesis, the assumptions about the data, the number of samples to be analyzed (Power of the…

2 Key SPADE Parameters To Adjust For Best Flow Cytometry Results

By: Tim Bushnell, PhD

Mass cytometry panels routinely include 30 or more markers, but traditional analysis methods like bivariate gating can’t adequately parse the resulting high-dimensional data. Spanning-tree progression analysis of density-normalized events (SPADE) is one of the most commonly used computational tools for visualizing and interpreting data sets from mass cytometry and multidimensional fluorescence flow cytometry experiments. There are two key parameters in SPADE that you can adjust in order get the best results possible: downsampling, and target number of nodes or k. Knowing how to properly set these values will enable you to enhance the quality of your analysis.