Policies and Work Flow
The North and South Core facility sites are available to all MD Anderson users. Established and new users of the North and South sites sign up to reserve time for their experiments via iLabs or SharePoint websites, respectively. Appointments for instrument use are available to all users on a first-come, first-served basis. New users discuss the specifics of their experiments with Core facility personnel prior to planning their experiments. Users perform fluorescent labeling for flow cytometry, cell sorting, and microscopy. Core personnel perform cell imaging, flow cytometric analyses and cell sorting for users, assist with acquisition setup, and/or provide training and troubleshooting assistance according to the skill levels of the individual users. Less experienced users and those starting to use new assays may need help with optimizing staining procedures which is also provided by Core facility personnel. Data analysis is commonly done jointly between Core facility personnel and users. Training is available for more complex, time-consuming analyses. Some experienced users of the microscopy and flow cytometric technology and sorting conduct experiments after regular business hours, which serves to expand the capacity of the facility.
New user lab orientation is required and is available weekly. Facility personnel continuously provide ongoing training for users in a one-on-one setting. Training encompasses the principles of fluorescence, flow cytometry and microscopy as well as acquisition and analysis of flow cytometry, microscopy, and mass cytometry data on an individual basis.
Data Storage and Analysis
Both sites store all data on institutional network-based systems whereby data is readily available to users, and then archived so that data can be made available for multiple years after acquisition. Workstations for post-acquisition analysis are established in the facility for independent client access. Available flow cytometry software includes FlowJo, DiVa, Kaluza, ModFit, Multicycle, FCS Express, viSNE, cytofkit, and CytoBank. Microscopy and image processing software includes INFORM, Visiopharm, SlideBook, SimplePCI, Attovision, Amnis IDEAS, FCS Express, FIJI/ImageJ, and Image Pro. FlowJo is preferred software and is available to all MD Anderson employees through 4-INFO.
Unfixed human cells are handled according to guidelines established by the ISAC (International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry) biohazardous cell sorting recommendations. Each sorter that handles unfixed cells is equipped with aerosol containment equipment and negative airflow to a HEPA filter to protect operators from potential aerosol exposure.
Records of instrument use are generated from the calendars for each site. Hours are tabulated at the end of each month and submitted for IDT. MD Anderson's principal investigators must provide an internal account number which is debited within 90 days for each month’s use.