Policies & Procedures

Flow Cytometry Core

Before starting your experiments

  • All work in the Flow Cytometry Core must be preceded by a consultation with Core Manager Dr. Rachael Sheridan to discuss experimental design, controls, and biosafety.
  • Create an iLab account. VARI staff that need a login (or further iLab support) should contact Lori Moon and MSU staff that need a login should contact Erica Lange. External users that need an iLab account/login can go here for account creation. After logging in, external users should click “list all cores” under the Core Facilities section in the left menu and scroll down to “Cores at Van Andel Institute”.


  • The flow cytometry rooms are biosafety level 2. No food or drink, or containers intended for food and drink in the future, are allowed in the space.
  • All people present in the flow cytometry space must be wearing long pants (or clothing that covers the legs) and close-toed shoes.
  • Each user has a responsibility to keep him or herself and other Core users safe. Please disclose all biohazard information about samples on the appointment form.
  • Use best practices when handling samples and ensure that spills are cleaned up appropriately and the space is left in good order after use. Contact the Core Manager Dr. Rachael Sheridan if assistance is needed.
  • The MoFlo Astrios is not a closed system and may produce aerosols. It is located in a biosafety cabinet for operator and researcher protection. Occasionally, the sort room will require enhanced precautions. At these times, extra signage will be posted and access will be further restricted.

Resource availability

  • Flow Cytometry Core staff are available from approximately 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you need access to staff outside of these hours, please make arrangements well in advance. Requests will be accommodated at staff’s discretion.
  • Certain resources will be made available 24/7 to well-trained users.
  • Users are encouraged to independently seek training to run the CytoFLEX S benchtop analysis cytometer, VetScan instruments, and Cytospin centrifuge.
  • The lab will be closed to untrained users on all VARI-recognized holidays.


  • Appointments are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis through iLab. Core staff reserve the right to make alterations in the schedule to accommodate as many users as possible on high-usage instrumentation. Users will be notified if any changes need to be made to an existing appointment.
  • Do not share iLab accounts. The name on the appointment must match the identity of the researcher at the instrument. Violators will be warned and may have their accounts deactivated.
  • Users will be charged based on instrument time booked or instrument time actually used, whichever is greater.
  • No-shows will be billed for time booked.
  • Cancellations with less than 24-hour notice will be billed unless the time is rebooked by another researcher. Exceptions for unforeseeable circumstances may be granted at staff discretion. Cancellations may be made through iLab or by contacting Core Manager Rachael Sheridan.
  • Please email Core Manager Dr. Rachael Sheridan if you need to make a last minute appointment. We understand that sometimes that’s how science works and will happily accommodate you if schedules allow.

Sample quality

  • Sample preparation and quality standards will be discussed at the initial consultation appointment.
  • Users are responsible for following instructions for sample preparation. Failure to bring properly prepared and filtered samples may result in instrument clogs and/or sort stream destabilization. If the staff determines that the clog resulted from negligence, users may be charged for time required to clear the clog and restore normal instrument operation.