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 has 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 a growing component of the Diabetes Research Center, as it addresses the research needs of a growing number of 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 analyzers (one Canto II, two Fortessa and two LSRII; 3-6 lasers and 8-18 colors) and four sorters (three Influx and one AriaII; up to 15 colors and four sort outputs) are available to Diabetes Research Center investigators. The Core has two sites: one in the Physicians & Surgeons (VP&S) building housing 3 analyzers and 2 sorters, and one in the Irving Cancer Research Center (ICRC) housing 2 analyzers and 2 sorters.


Email Caisheng Lu (VP&S site) or Wei Wang (ICRC site) to discuss which instrument best fits the experiment and reservations and training will be arranged accordingly. Cell sorters are operated by dedicated core facility staff only. Diabetes Research Center members can reserve the instruments 3 weeks in advance and currently receive a $2 subsidy per hour per instrument.


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.


  • Rate: $60 per hour
  • Capabilities: 6 lasers, 18 colors, UV and Orange lasers

BD Fortessa

  • Rate: $55 per hour
  • Capabilities: 3 lasers, 14 colors, High-Throughput System (HTS)

BD Canto II

  • Rate: $50 per hour
  • Capabilities: 3 lasers, 8 colors

BD Influx sorters

  • Rate: $65 per hr (including operator)
  • Capabilities: 4 lasers, 15 colors, 4-way or plate sort. Two sorters.

The minimum charge for the analyzers is 30 minutes. The reservation time and actual usage are compared and longer duration would be 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) are equipped with Flowjo and Microsoft Office.