Flow Cytometry Core Unit

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  • Irene Fernández
  • Julia García
  • Ana María Elizabeth Ilie

Flow Cytometry is a fast and multiparametric technology, and a very valuable tool in the oncology field. It is an important workhorse for the identification, quantification and isolation of defined subpopulations of cells, based on the expression levels of fluorescent markers and their relationship to each other at the single cell level.

Our aim is to provide CNIO Groups with technical and scientific advice regarding the use of cytometric technologies, collaborating with them in the design, acquisition, data analysis, and interpretation of flow cytometry data.

We currently have 4 analysers – including a 5L AURORA full spectrum cytometer – and 3 high-speed cell sorters with different optical configurations to cater our users’ needs. We also have an automated magnetic bead separation system (AutoMACS), 2 automated cell counters (Countess) and a tissue homogenizer (GentleMACS).

Cell sorters are operated by the Unit staff. Our sorters can separate up to 4- or 6- defined populations simultaneously, as well as perform single cell cloning and index sorting. We can accept human samples to sort under BSL2 regulations.

Analysers are user-operated upon appropriate training. The unit have a very comprehensive training programme from basic to advance polychromatic flow cytometry, keep an eye on the CNIO events website.


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  • Back JB, Martinez L, Nettenstrom L, Sheerar D, Thornton S (2022). Establishing a biosafety plan for a flow cytometry shared resource laboratory. Cytom Part A 101, 380-386. CNIO Publication.
  • Cerezo-Wallis D, Contreras-Alcalde M, Troulé K, Catena X, Mucientes C, Calvo TG, Cañón E, Tejedo C, Pennacchi PC, Hogan S, Kölblinger P, Tejero H, Chen AX, Ibarz N, Graña-Castro O, Martinez L, Muñoz J, Ortiz-Romero P, Rodriguez-Peralto JL, Gómez-López G, Al-Shahrour F, Rabadán R, Levesque MP, Olmeda D, Soengas MS. (2020). Midkine rewires the melanoma microenvironment toward a tolerogenic and immune-resistant state. Nat Med 26, 1865-1877. CNIO Publication.
  • Palma F, Affinito A, Nuzzo S, Roscigno G, Scognamiglio I, Ingenito F, Martinez L, Franzese M, Zanfardino M, Soricelli A, Fiorelli A, Condorelli G, Quintavalle C (2020). miR-34c-3p targets CDK1 a synthetic lethality partner of KRAS in non-small cell lung cancer. Cancer Gene Ther (in press). CNIO Publication.
  • Aspland AM, Douagi I, Filby A, Jellison ER, Martinez L, Shinko D, Smith AL, Tang VA, Thornton S (2020). Biosafety during a pandemic: shared resource laboratories rise to the challenge.. Cytometry (in press). CNIO Publication.
  • Daniels K, Conway A, Gardner R, Martinez L, Price KM, Schneider S, Sheridan R, Srivastava J, Thornton S (2020). Remote Training of SRL Users and Staff in a Global Pandemic. Cytometry (in press). CNIO Publication.
  • Priego N, Zhu L, Monteiro C, Mulders M, Wasilewski D, Bindeman W, Doglio L, Martínez L, Martínez-Saez E, Cajal SRY, Megías D, Hernández-Encinas E, Blanco-Aparicio C, Martínez L, Zarzuela E, Muñoz J, Fustero-Torres C, Pineiro E, Hernández-Laín A, Bertero L, Poli V, Sánchez-Martínez M, Menendez JA, Soffietti R, Bosch-Barrera J, Valiente M (2018). STAT3 labels a subpopulation of reactive astrocytes required for brain metastasis. Nat Med 24, 1024-1035. CNIO Publication.
  • Costa-Machado LF, Martín-Hernández R, Sanchez-Luengo MÁ, Hess K, Vales-Villamarin C, Barradas M, Lynch C, de la Nava D, Diaz-Ruiz A, de Cabo R, Cañamero M, Martinez L, Sanchez-Carbayo M, Herranz D, Serrano M, Fernandez-Marcos PJ (2018). Sirt1 protects from K-Ras-driven lung carcinogenesis. EMBO Rep 19, e43879. CNIO Publication.
  • Pérez-Olivares M, Trento A, Rodriguez-Acebes S, González-Acosta D, Fernández-Antorán D, Román-García S, Martinez D, López-Briones T, Torroja C, Carrasco YR, Méndez J, Moreno de Alborán I (2018). Functional interplay between c-Myc and Max in B lymphocyte differentiation. EMBO Rep 19, e45770. CNIO Publication.