Centres Científics i Tecnològics UB



New cytometry equipment: spectral sorter with imaging

The Scientific and Technological Centers of the University of Barcelona make available to their users a new piece of equipment in the Cytometry laboratory. It is an instrument that combines the capabilities of a spectral flow cytometry sorter with those of a system that provides imaging of the analyzed cells.


The new equipment, FACSDiscover S8™ by Becton Dikinson, is fully equipped: five excitation lasers (UV-405-488-561-640 nm), 78 fluorescence detectors, and the ability to sort up to six cell populations simultaneously. It also allows for the collection of sorted products in plates of different formats in a sterile environment provided by the flow cabinet containing the apparatus.

The spectral technology incorporated into the S8 (BD SpectralFX™) allows the combination of multiple markers as well as autofluorescence subtraction. The device also incorporates a quality control system that ensures the integrity and consistency of the acquired data at different times.

However, the most remarkable feature of this equipment is obtaining images of detected particles at a sufficient speed (15,000 cells per second) to use the new imaging parameters as separation criteria. This feature allows for the incorporation of morphological parameters typical of optical microscopy into the field of cytometry.


In addition to the known applications of sorting equipment allowing for cell purification (obtaining phenotypically identical populations for use in other techniques), spectral technology enables in-depth phenotyping in immune system cells, with direct applications in understanding the human immune system or in immunooncology, or its use in models with high autofluorescence.

The incorporation of imaging allows for new applications in assays such as nuclear translocation, apoptosis, internalization, cell-cell interactions, cell cycle, phagocytosis, and in general, in all applications where cellular morphology provides information. It is also especially useful in samples with a low proportion of intact or non-aggregated cells, such as tissue dissociates or organoids.


This equipment has been fully funded with European funds in the call for acquisition of scientific and technical equipment 2021 of the Next Generation EU Fund, Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan. / project EQC2021- 007393-P, with an amount of €595,000.


The FACSDiscover S8 equipment can be found in the Cytometry laboratory of the CCiTUB located at the Scientific Park (Cluster 1 building, P1C24), and it is expected to be fully operational before the summer of 2024.