Flow Cytometry Theory:

The Flow Cytomtetry Facility is pleased to announce its partnership with Expert Cytometry (ExCyte™) and SickKids Hospital to bring a comprehensive flow cytometry curriculum to its training program.  All new registrants will be required to participate in the ExCyte program regardless of previous experience or unless they can provide earlier ExCyte certification.

There are four modules to this course, each having their own testing phases.  The four modules cover the following topics:

The Cytometer:
  • Details the process of generating data with emphasis on the integration of the an instrument’s three main systems (fluidics, optics, and electronics). (40 mins)
 Reagents and Panel Design:
  • Explains the use of antibodies and their fluorescent conjugates in flow.  Concepts such a spectral overlap and compensation are also discussed. (1 – 2 hrs)
Controls and Compensation:
  • Explains the types of controls necessary for a successful flow cytometry experiment.  Additional information on the sources of experimental variability are discussed along with methods for addressing them and standardizing experiments for run to run consistency.  A separate presentation on compensation theory is also provided. (1 – 2 hrs)
Data Analysis and Statistics:
  • Reviews how data is displayed and interpreted, selecting populations for analysis via gating, common data presentation formats for analysis and publication. (1.5 hrs)

Over and above these four modules, ExCyte is filled with a wealth of flow cytometry related information that clients will find very valuable and are encouraged to explore on their own.

Test results must be presented to the facility before instrument training can be scheduled.

Cost:  $225/client

Instrument Training for Inexperienced Clients:

Following successful completion of the ExCyte program,  clients can begin their instrument training which is separated into three sessions

  1.  Introduction to the Flow Cytometer and  FACS DIVA  – 3 hours @ $150/person, held in groups of two.
    • Covers a walk through of the instrument start-up, QC, cleaning and shut-down procedures
    • Elements of the acquisition software will demonstrated with fluorescent beads including – detector selection,  compensation, drawing analysis templates, saving application specific settings
  2. Follow-Up Session 1 – 3 hours @$200/person, held one on one with a dedicated instructor, required.
    • An instructor will guide you through the optimization of your own samples on an instrument.
    • Experiment standardization and data export will be covered.
  3. Follow-Up Session 2 – 3 hours @$200/person, held one on with a dedicated instructor
    • This session may or may not be required for simple experimental set ups 1- 4 colours
    • Mandatory for all assays with greater than 4 fluorescent parameters.

The average cost of training may vary between $550 – 750 or greater, depending on experimental complexity.  Please contact us to discuss your plans to receive an estimate of training costs for your application.

Training for Clients Experienced with BD FACS Diva Based Instruments:

  1. ExCyte training is required – $225/person
    • described above
  2. Guided facility orientation and sample set-up – charged at $90/hour
    • An instructor will guide you through our laboratory’s safety features, instrument start-up/shut down, configurations and quality control procedures
    • The instructor will observe your experimental set-up procedures (correcting any bad habits acquired) and will provide suggestions to improve data quality where appropriate.
  3. One follow-up session – charged at $90/hour
    • May or may not be required depending on the level of skill observed by the trainer at the initial orientation session.

 Things to consider before contacting us:

  • Training is only available to students and employees of the University of Toronto and it’s affiliated research institutes (within the University Health Network).
  • Training will only be provided for those investigators who become regular user of our facility.  i.e. if you intend to acquire your data at another facility please seek instruction at that location.
  • Due to the busy nature of the lab there is usually a 2-week wait time between a request for training and the first hands-on session.
  • Hands-on training should only begin when you are almost ready to regularly run samples (3-4 weeks).
    • ExCyte must be completed before this step – time to complete the course should be factored into your planning.
    • Software training is quite intensive and it will take repeated solo practice sessions to become proficient.
    • A large gap between initial training and follow-up sessions is not recommended.
  • Training is only provided for the analyzers.
  • It will take approximately 10-12 hours to solidify the concepts learned during the course.  Trainees are expected to practice on their own and request additional training time if necessary.
  • If after the completion of both follow-up sessions our instructors feel that more training is required, additional sessions will be charged at the hourly operator rate of $90/hour.
  • Cancelling training session with less than 48-hour’s notice will result in the full charge of the session being added to your account.


Please download our registration forms to become a facility member to gain access to the ExCyte program and start the instrument training program.

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