The HGCC team: Kylie Price, Sally Chappell and Alfonso Schmidt

Scope 64 - New spectral cytometer is out of this world

31 October 2017, Scope, Technology

The Malaghan Institute is excited to welcome a new spectral cytometer to the Hugh Green Cytometry Core (HGCC) family. 

Aptly named the Aurora, this machine is one of only four instruments of its kind in the world. The Aurora will dramatically increase the sophistication of detection carried out at the Institute and enable a greater level of experimentation.

“Flow cytometry is used to analyse and understand cells by tagging them with fluorescent dyes and then measuring a tiny portion of the emitted light. Unlike regular ow cytometry, a spectral cytometer takes the fingerprint of the whole emission spectrum for each fluorescent dye attached. This unique fingerprint will allow us to reliably analyse over 20 different parameters on a cell instantly with only three lasers – something we simply can’t do with normal flow cytometry,” says the Kylie Price, Head of Research Technology at the HGCC.

“We’re really excited to start using this instrument,” says Kylie. “In the future, we’d like to get the Aurora upgraded to five lasers, which would theoretically allow us to analyse 64 different parameters on a single cell at the same time. At the moment, what’s holding this technology back is not the instrument itself, but that there haven’t been enough new dyes created to fill up all of the possible combinations yet.”

What makes this cell different from that one? Why is this cell so important? The more physical and biochemical features researchers can detect, the more questions scientists can answer about a cell or group of cells. Thanks to the Aurora, the Malaghan Institute will be able to pick out cells with much greater precision and accuracy than before, helping our scientists gain much greater insight into their precise nature.