Division of Biology and Medicine
BioMed Core Facilities

Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorter Facility

The Flow Cytometry & Cell Sorter Facility is a full service facility that provides instrumentation, expertise and access to state-of-the-art flow cytometry and cell sorting instrumentation.


Welcome to the Brown University Flow Cytometry & Cell Sorter Facility. The purpose of this facility is to provide technical assistance to researchers at Brown and affiliated institutions by performing flow cytometry-based analysis and sorting. The facility has a 5-laser, 20-parameter BD FACSAria IIIu for flow and sorting applications, as well as a 3-laser, 15-parameter BD FACSCelesta equipped with a high throughput system for analysis of samples from 96 well plates.

Related Core

The Rhode Island Hospital Stem Cells and Aging (SCA) COBRE Flow Cytometry Core’s function is to provide high quality,
cost effective, state-of-the-art flow cytometry and multiparameter cell sorting instrumentation and associated expertise
and services to all investigators in the SCA COBRE and to the general research community in Rhode Island. The Core has
a BD Sciences Influx Cell Sorter and LSRII Analyzer/Flow Cytometer. It also has a Fluidigm Helios (CyTOF) Mass
Cytometer. The Core operates the instruments, provides training for self-use and provides advise on experimental
design and data interpretation.

Learn more

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Services and Instruments

Instruments Available

Data Analysis & Backup

The Flow Facility utilizes an external back up system, that automatically saves data at the end of the day. This is useful, should a problem occur with the machine, or with an individuals data (i.e. corruption of individual files).

Files and experiments will occasionally pile up on the DiVa software which causes the program to run at slower speeds. For this reason, every month, old experiments are deleted off the program, and saved onto the workstations hard drive, where it will be backed up at the end of the day.

Individual users are responsible for their own data analysis and backing up of data (either by transfer to USB Flashdrive or CD/DVD). The FACSAria cell sorter is run by a PC-based computer system. There is only one PC workstation with Diva software for data anlysis and/or for setting up sort profiles, which is connected to the instrument. The facility staff is available by appointment to assist in data analysis using the Flowjo software.


Listed are several protocols that may answer some typical questions.

The Cell Sorting Guidelines are basic instructions as to how to prepare your samples for sorting. The Flow Cytometry Guidelines are basic instructions for running samples for flow analysis that do not need to be sorted. Please keep in mind that it is still very helpful to filter your samples, especially samples that come from bone marrow or are clumpy cells lines.

The Fluorochrome Chart is a list of all the channels that the FACSAria IIIu can run. The colors listed are some of the more common colors used, and what corresponding channel they are run on.

The User Access Form will gather all your pertinent billing information. All new users must complete the User Access Form before any Flow or Sorting can take place.

The FACSAria IIIu Use Request Form is to be filled out for each experiment. It will be helpful to fill out what type of specimen you are running, what colors you will use, how many samples, and most importantly what type of biosafety level your samples are to be treated as.

Protocol Downloads

Cell Sorting Guidelines  Flow Cytometry Guidelines  Fluorochrome Chart

Service Request and Reservations

For further information or to schedule an appointment time, contact Kevin Carlson at 401-863-6396 or send us an email.

Email Kevin Carlson     Email the Flow Cytometry Facility


FY24 Rates

Service Units Internal Academic Rate* External Academic Rate
FACSAria Cell Sorter
(1st Hour)
Hours $126 $201
FACSAria Cell Sorter
(Additional Hours)
Hours $98 $156
FACSAria Flow Cytometry
(1st Hour)
Hours $87 $139
FACSAria Flow Cytometry
(Additional Hours)
Hours $73 $117
BD FACSCelesta
(Self Use)
Hours $50 N/A
BD FACSCelesta
(Assisted Use)
Hours $87 $139
Cytek Aurora (Self Use) Hours $45 N/A
Cytek Aurora (Assisted Use) Hours $68 $108
Technical Assistance Hours $49 $78
Training Hours $294 $468

Effective 1/1/2024

*Rates for Brown and Rhode Island Academic and Hospital Affiliates

**Any cancellations with less than a 24 hour notice before scheduled start time will be charged 1 hour. No-shows will be charged for time reserved.


Resources for Equipment

Analysis software for flow cytometry (Mac, PC)
An invaluable tool for all users of flow cytometry to design a superb, working antibody panel. The website is tailored to the instrumentation located at Brown University. Requires free registration.

Resources for Grants

Flow Cytometry. This facility, located at the Biomedical Center, is directed by a PhD-level investigator and staffed by a full-time manager. The primary instrument is a Becton Dickinson FACSAria III, a 5-laser, 20-parameter instrument with analytical and sorting capabilities for up to four populations, bead-based immunoassays, and DNA cell cycle analysis. The five lasers are blue 488nm, yellow/green 561nm, red 633nm, violet 407nm and UV 375nm. A fixed-alignment cuvette flow cell provides excellent fluorescence sensitivity. The facility houses a 3-laser, 15-parameter BD FACSCelesta with blue 488nm, violet 407nm, and yellow/green 561nm lasers and equipped with a high throughput system for analysis of samples from 96 well plates. The facility also houses a four laser Cytek Aurora with blue 488nm, red 640nm, violet 405nm and UV 355nm lasers. This instrument can analyze up to 54 channel, 57 parameters and is equipped with an auto sampler loader. Consultation is available. A computer workstation with FlowJo software is provided for facility users.

Scientific reproducibility is enhanced through scientific rigor and transparency.  Scientific rigor is the strict application of the scientific method to ensure unbiased and well-controlled experimental design, methodology, analysis, interpretation, and reporting of results. The Flow Cytometry and Sorting Facility is committed to supporting research excellence by adopting the following practices of scientific rigor.

  • Purchase and maintain a variety of high-quality instruments from established vendors such that the best instrument is available for any given research analysis.
  • The equipment is overseen by highly trained Flow Cytometry experts and well maintained under service contracts or funds budgeted for annual preventive maintenance and repairs.
  • The flow cytometry and cell sorting experts are available for experimental design consults or troubleshooting.
  • All Flow Cytometry and Sorting Facility users are thoroughly trained by the expert staff, one on one, and not granted access to the instruments until they are deemed to be suitably trained. 
  • All newly trained users are also required to use the Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting Facility instruments during daytime hours to increase interaction with the expert staff members.


The Flow Cytometry and Sorting Facility is supported by NIH funding. The following acknowledgement must appear in any publication made possible by the work of the Flow Cytometry and Sorting Facility.

This project was supported in part by a grant from the National Center For Research Resources (NCRR) (1S 10RR021051) from the National Institutes of Health, Brown University's Division of Biology and Medicine and Provost's office.