The Microbiology & Immunology Flow Cytometry Core Facility provides the researchers of UAMS with an immensely powerful and diverse tool to measure multiple physical characteristics of individual cells in suspension.  The flow cytometer can indicate relative cell size and density or complexity by measuring forward- and side-scattered laser light, respectively.  In addition, the flow cytometer can measure relative fluorescence from fluorescent probes which bind to specific cell-associated molecules.  These fluorescent probes are often fluorochrome-labeled antibodies specific for cell surface molecules, but may also be nucleic acid probes (e.g. Propidium Iodide), cell function probes (e.g. Indo-1), or fluorescent proteins (e.g. GFP). The probes can be applied to most types of cells. As the labeled cells flow past a laser beam, the probes fluoresce, and the emitted light is directed to detectors which translate the light signals into information concerning the relative fluorescent intensity associated with each cell.

Flow cytometry measures the percentage of cells in a population with each (or multiple) fluorescent probe(s) attached.  The cell sorter is capable of sorting specific cell populations from a mixture of cells based on fluorescence profiles.