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Flow Cytometry Training

Written by Tim Bushnell, PhD

Flow cytometry can be an intimidating tool for the new cytometrist.  There are many sources that one can turn to for training and education.

Local Shared Resource Lab Manager

If you institute has a shared resource lab (a ‘core facility’), look in what training they provide.  This is your first line of training experience.  Here you can learn about the policies of the facility, how to operate the machine and how to design or analyze your experiment.  These SRL managers and staff have extensive experience with flow cytometry and can help guide you through the steps to get good, high quality data.

Instrument Vendor Lectures and Training

Many major vendors provide some educational content on their websites.  This is a good place to get refresher information or learn about specific techniques.  Additionally, be on the lookout for announcements for vendor sponsored lectures and webinars.  These can provide additional insight and training, but often with the vendor’s products and services.  Vendors also provide specific training at various training institutions around the world, but these are often expensive and require travel time to attend.

Meetings and Conferences

Conferences can provide another venue for training as well as learning about the latest techniques in the field of flow cytometry.  Such meetings can be regional (such as GLIIFCA, MetroFlow, iCys, FlowUK and others), or international such as the Cyto meeting sponsored by the International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry (ISAC)

Independent training

There are several companies that provide custom training programs around the world.  These companies bring an independent view on flow cytometry, and are staffed by experienced cytometrists who are also excellent educators.   These courses can be very affordable, as the trainer comes to the students.

Electronic newsletters and groups

There are two major tools for researchers to ask questions and get answers. The first is an electronic list maintained by Dr. Paul Robinson at Purdue University ( and has a 20+ year archive that can be searched.  A more recent group, started by Ryan Duggan, is the cytometry google group (  This is a small, but growing group with good discussion and answers.

There are a lot of training resources available, with many helpful researchers willing to answer questions.  Please don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Tim Bushnell, PhD


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