Flow Cytometry Core Policies and Procedures


1. Hours of Operation

    1. The facility is open Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm.
    2. In order to use the instruments during non-business hours, users must have been trained and designated “approved” as a self-user by the facility staff (see 5). For facility access after hours, arrangements with the flow core staff must be made prior to 4pm on the day access is needed. For weekend access, arrangements with the flow core staff must be made by 4pm on the preceding Friday.

2. Scheduling and Cancellation Policies

    1. Scheduling is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
    2. To schedule an appointment, users need to consult with the Flow Core’s online calendar. If facility staff is needed to operate instrumentation, please call the Flow Core at 567-3911 or email us to confirm the desired appointment times. For all assisted appointments, please do no start experiment until staff has confirmed availability by either phone or email. Time is offically reserved when the request from the university Shared Resources website is recieved.
    3. Cancelation of service less than one full business day before scheduled service will be billed for the entire scheduled time.
    4. Running over one's scheduled time is permitted ONLY if there are no conflicting reservations for the equipment and if the Core staff is available. If there is a reservation, the Flow Cytometry Core may ask the next user whether he/she is willing to relinquish some of his/her allotted time, but this is at the discretion of the Flow Core personnel as they have the final authority.


3. Safety Issues

    1. Users are not required to pass the laser training (Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S)) since all lasers in the Core are enclosed.
    2. Users requesting sorting must fill out and return the Biohazard Form prior to service for each sort. The Flow Cytometry Core will retain this for its record.
    3. Users must inform flow core personnel of all unfixed biological material being brought into the Flow Cytometry Facility
    4. PI must provide the Flow Cytometry Core a copy of their EH&S approval prior to sorting or analysis of any unfixed NIH/CDC BSL-2 material.
    5. No unfixed samples containing NIH/CDC BSL-3 biohazard material will be allowed into the Flow Cytometry Core.
    6. For all BSL-2 (and up) material, users must adhere to proper transportation protocols to and from the Flow Core Facility and must dispose of all biohazardous material/waste in their own lab. Failure to comply with the following packaging requirement may lead to the rejection of the sample. (Samples must be contained in a leak proof container and clearly labeled with a sample identifier and a biohazard symbol. Samples should be transported on campus in sealed leak-proof primary and secondary containment. The secondary (outer) container should have the biohazard sticker. Samples could be provided in sealed or capped tubes placed in larger conicals, sealed specimen bags, Tupperware or test tube racks placed inside of a larger sealed container.)
    7. No radioactive material is allowed in the Flow Cytometry Core.

4. Billing

    1. There is a $50 set-up fee for all sorting experiments (charges will not apply when the FACSAria is used for analysis).
    2. Each appointment is billed for a minimum of 15 minutes for an analyzer (LSRII/Calibur) or 30 minutes for a sorter (Aria/Astrios).
    3. Reservations canceled less than 24 hours prior to the scheduled time will be billed for the entire reserved time.
    4. Billing for experiments that require decontamination of equipment afterwards (e.g.,. lentivirus, BSL-2 level sorts) will include a fee for decontamination.  This fee, based on the hourly rate for this machine, will reflect the time that was needed to fully decontaminate the equipment. On average, this takes ~30 minutes.
    5. The Flow Core will not take payment (credit) in advance of services; it will bill only after services have been completed.
    6. CTRC vs UTHSCSA rates are based on the membership of the PI whose project ID (PID) is being charged. (e.g., if the user is a CTRC member but is charging a PID whose PI is not a member of the CTRC, the UTHSCSA rate will be used.)


5. Self Users

    1. A self-user is someone who can start-up an instrument, is proficient in all aspects of the software of the equipment, can acquire samples, and shut-down the instrument, without help from the Core staff or any other individual.  The status of self-user will be granted by Karla Gorena or Benjamin Daniel upon completion of specialized training (see below).  In case there is doubt about the operating skills of a self-user candidate, the Core staff has the right to refuse approval of (or revoke) self-user status.
    2. Self-users on the FACS Aria must have completed the BD Bioscience operator’s course and subsequent training by either Karla Gorena or Benjamin Daniel.
    3. A specialized training in order to become a self-user will be provided by the Core staff for a fee (see rates on the website) on the LSRII and the FACSCalibur.  It will only be waived to individuals who can demonstrate proficiency of instrument operation to the Core staff; only one attempt to do so will be granted.  Exemption will be entirely at the discretion of the Core Facility personnel.
    4. All self-users are required to export their flow cytometry data out of the DIVA program before exiting the Diva software.
    5. Infractions of the procedures discussed in the self-user training, as well as display of behavior that does not adhere to the definition of self-user (see 5.a) will be handled first by a written reminder of the content of this document directed to the individual and a copy sent to the PI. A second infraction will result the self-user status being rescinded. Appeals to these actions may be made to the Advisory Committee of the Flow Cytometry Core.