Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting Core

Flow Cytometry is an important tool in quantifying and phenotyping the cells that define pathways relevant to diabetes. Previously limited to the analysis of circulating immune cells, advances in cell extraction from tissues have allowed flow cytometry to expand its capabilities to the study of developmental, metabolic, and signaling programs in a wide variety of cell types.

The Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting Core represents an essential component of the Diabetes Research Center, as it addresses the research needs of many Diabetes Research Center investigators who study immunological, developmental, and metabolic aspects of diabetes. Created in 2010 in partnership with the Columbia Center for Translational Immunology and the Department of Medicine, and merged in 2015 with the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Flow Core, the Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting Core helps investigators to quantify and phenotypically characterize cell populations that contribute to the metabolic, immunologic, and developmental programs of diabetes and its complications; and to purify populations of cells of relevance to diabetes and its complications. The Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting Core leverages advanced technologies in fluorescent imaging at the single cell resolution to support the analysis of many different cell types in both human and animal tissues, as well as humanized mouse models of diabetes.

The goal of the Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting Core facility is to support the needs of Diabetes Research Center researchers in all aspects of analytic flow cytometry (cell surface markers, intracellular cytokines, transcription factors and phosphorylated signaling molecules), and with cell sorting services. Five conventional analyzers (one Canto II, two Fortessa and two LSRII; 3-6 lasers and 8-18 colors), three spectral analyzers (Aurora with 3-5 lasers supporting 30-40 colors) and four cell sorters (three Influx and one AriaII; up to 15 colors and 4-6 sort outputs) are available to Diabetes Research Center investigators. The Core has two sites: one in the Physicians & Surgeons (VP&S) building housing 5 analyzers and 2 sorters, and one in the Irving Cancer Research Center (ICRC) housing 3 analyzers and 2 sorters.


Please contact Caisheng (Luke) Lu or Ching-Yuan (Steve) Chen to discuss experimental needs and to arrange free consultation and training. Cell sorters are operated by dedicated core facility staff, and training for self-operation may be provided in special cases. Diabetes Research Center members can reserve the instruments 3 weeks in advance.


The Cytometry and Cell Sorting Core provides training and access to state-of-the-art flow cytometry for biomedical investigators at the Columbia University Medical Center. Among the many documented applications, characterization and quantification of cells for surface protein, cytokine, intracellular transcription factor and signaling molecules are the most common experiments performed in the flow cytometry core facility, in addition to sorting of targeted subpopulations for downstream analysis and/or culture.

Flow Cytometry Core Rates


  • Cell sorting (with operator): $70
  • Aria cell sorting (self-operated): $60
  • Canto :$50
  • Fortessa: $55
  • LSR-II: $60
  • Aurora 3L: $60
  • Aurora 5L: $75

Additional Rate Info:

All instruments are booked via iLab using a valid chartstring. The minimum charge for the analyzers is 30 minutes. The reservation time and actual usage are compared, and the longer duration is charged. A fee of 100% is charged when the cancellation occurs less than 2 hours before the scheduled time. For the cell sorters, the minimum reservation is 1 hour. A fee of 100% is charged when the cancellation occurs less than 72 business hours beforehand. 

Analysis Workstations

Workstations (BB-1511, PS17-503 and ICRC 333) can be reserved on iLab and are equipped with FlowJo, FCS Express and Microsoft Office.