Flow Cytometry and Cell Separation Unit

Flow Cytometry and Cell Separation Unit  

Research Support Unit

The Flow Cytometry and Cell Separation Unit came into operation in 2008 and is part of the Research Support Units of the Cajal Institute (CSIC). The purpose of this Unit is to provide support in carrying out the research studies carried out by the different groups that make up the Institute or other Research Centers, through scientific advice, sample analysis and presentation of results in the field of flow cytometry.

The primary mission of the Unit is to provide an efficient and quality service in order to promote and develop research activity.

The Service Provision Catalog includes:

  • Identification of cell populations by labeling intra or extracellular antigens
  • Cell viability studies using vital dyes
  • Measurement of cell apoptosis using different techniques (Annexin-V/Propidium iodide, TUNEL, determination of mitochondrial membrane potential, sub-G0 peak detection, etc.)
  • Oxidative stress studies using fluorescent probes
  • Study of the different phases of the cell cycle
  • Determination of the cell proliferative index using labeled nucleoside analogues (BrdU)
  • Gene expression studies guided by fluorescent proteins (GFP, YFP…)
  • Intracellular signaling studies
  • Quantification of cytokines and other soluble proteins
  • Intracellular Ca2+ mobilization studies
  • Cell separation (sorting)

To carry out other cytometry studies not mentioned above, consult the Head of the Unit.

The Service is integrated into the NETWORK of laboratories of the Community of Madrid. with Registration No. 431.

Research support functions and technical support

  • Preparation, optimization and updating of the protocols for the different flow cytometry techniques
  • Carrying out equipment maintenance tasks, including quality controls, reagent control and repair management in the event of a breakdown
  • Reservation management and user administration
  • Scientific advice, sample analysis and presentation of results to the research groups that make up the Institute as well as to other research centers that require their services
  • Maintaining the team’s database and making backup copies of the generated files
  • Initial basic training for a new user and advice on the use of Cytometry Unit equipment. Solve problems with the sample. Preparation of Manuals and Quick Guides for each team
  • Equipment Software Update
  • User billing management
  • Contact with the Commercial Houses represented by the teams


The Ramón y Cajal Institute of Neurobiology has a FACSAria unit with a sorter module from the company BD Biosciences. The equipment has 2 air-cooled lasers: a 488 nm Argon laser capable of detecting up to five different fluorochromes and a 633 nm Helium-Neon laser with a capacity to detect two different fluorochromes, which together allows an analysis multiparameter of up to seven colors, together with the two scatter parameters (cell size and complexity). The sorter module supports high-speed cell sorting of up to four different populations in holders for various types of tubes, including 5 and 15 mL tubes.

The analysis of the results obtained is carried out using the programs FACSDiva and FCAPArray from BD Biosciences.


Group manager

Raquel López Manso

PHONE: 91 585 4727

LOCATION: The equipment is located on the Ground Floor next to the Laboratory of the Molecular and Cellular Biology Unit. The Office, shared with other units, is located on the Ground Floor next to the Confocal Microscopy and Imaging Unit
SCHEDULE: 08:00 h to 15:30 h.
RATES AND RESERVATIONS: Contact the Head of the Unit to obtain information on updated rates.

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