29 Oct 2019

New guidelines for immunology research tool, flow cytometry

Immunological research is complex, delving deep into the minutiae of the biological systems which protect us from disease and infection. The research requires specific and powerful tools. A large team of over 200 renowned experts from over 190 institutions globally have prepared the second version of the 'Guidelines for the use of flow cytometry', including researchers from Central Clinical School and Burnet Institute.

Authors Dr Jess Borger from CCS's Department of Immunology and Pathology and Dr Eva Orlowski-Oliver from the Burnet Institute have contributed to the guidelines, which also includes collaborations with researchers at Monash BDI (Dr Martin Davey), the Peter Doherty Institute and RMIT, as well as many international institutions.

The idea for developing these international guidelines arose from enthusiastic discussions at the European Congress of Immunology in September 2015, and under the guidance of Professor Andreas Radbruch (at that time Chair of the Executive Committee of the European Journal of Immunology (EJI) and currently EFIS President), the Editorial Team of the European Journal of Immunology felt that it was worthwhile to offer the community guidelines for the correct use of cytometric techniques in the field of immunology.

The 500+ paged Guidelines focus on core aspects including:

  • advice and best practice regarding how to study complex cell phenotypes, 
  • the type or amount of molecules produced or secreted after stimulation by the cell population of interest, 
  • signaling processes, 
  • differentiation, 
  • proliferation, 
  • cell death, 
  • cytotoxic activities, 
  • cell–cell interactions, 
  • the functionality of organelles such as mitochondria, 
  • the different types of response induced against tumours, 
  • transcription factor activity, 
  • quantification of soluble molecules, drug uptake, and rare events, 
  • the parts related to the choice of reagents, 
  • the preparation and/or storage of the cells under analysis, 
  • the overall experimental plan, 
  • and last but not least, the analysis of data.
The Alfred Research Alliance precinct research platforms include The Alfred Research Alliance Flow Cytometry Core Facility  (AMREPFlow), a state of the art, world class cell sorting and cell analysis laboratory equipped with high throughput cell sorters, cell analysis platforms, and an imaging flow cytometer accessed by Dr Borger and other researchers based at the Alfred Research Alliance and broader Melbourne. AMREPFlow facilities are distributed throughout the Burnet and CCS, and are managed by Mr Geza Paukovics. 


Cossarizza A, Chang HD, Radbruch A, ... Borger JG,...Orlowski-Oliver E, ... Zychlinsky A. Guidelines for the use of flow cytometry and cell sorting in immunological studies (second edition). Eur J Immunol. 2019 Oct;49(10):1457-1973. doi: 10.1002/eji.201970107. PMID: 31633216

The Alfred Research Alliance Flow Cytometry Core Facility (AMREPFlow): www.alfredresearchalliance.org.au/resources/platform-technologies/flow-cytometry-core-facility/

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