Core research services are grouped into specialized service lines that provide access to expertise in specimen processing, biomolecular analysis, molecular development, imaging, structural testing, tissue analysis and data analytics. The core strives to provide full-service support for single-cell phenotyping assays from pathology specimens to single-cell suspensions.

Service lines include:

  • Mass cytometry-CyTOF using the Helios instrument.
  • Custom heavy metal conjugation of antibodies through collaboration with the Antibody Hybridoma Core, which allows the generation of panels with 40 or more markers.
  • Cell sample preparation for CyTOF-mass cytometry experiments.
  • Custom CyTOF and imaging mass cytometry panel design.
  • Access to predesigned human and mouse mass cytometry-CyTOF panels.
  • Slide preparation for the Hyperion imaging system through collaboration with the Pathology Research Core.
  • Access to a prevalidated Hyperion imaging panel.
  • Imaging mass cytometry, using the Hyperion imaging system.
  • Slide preparation and data acquisition using the Akoya Fusion-Phenocycler imaging system.

Mass cytometry

Closeup of Helios mass cytometer

Helios CyTOF system

Cytometry by time-of-flight (CyTOF) is a high-parameter single-cell analysis technology that is similar to flow cytometry. Rather than detecting fluorescent signals as in flow cytometry, mass cytometry detects heavy metal labeled antibodies through time-of-flight inductively coupled mass spectrometry.

This detection method allows investigators to interrogate over 40 unique antibody markers in a single CyTOF run. It is a valuable tool for immune phenotyping, monitoring intracellular cytokines and for detecting unique signaling intermediates through detection of phospho-proteins. Data output files use the flow cytometry standard (.fcs), so analysis can be performed using tools routinely used for flow cytometry.

Multiparameter spatial imaging

Hyperion imaging system

The Immune Monitoring Core uses Standard BioTools Helios CyTOF technology and provides services using the Standard BioTools Hyperion Imaging System. Mass cytometry technology using Helios CyTOF enables a comprehensive understanding of cell phenotypes, signaling pathways and function.

High-plex normal human tonsil tissue stained to detect immune cells and structural proteins High-plex pseudo-colored image

Normal human tonsil is stained with a 24-antibody panel to detect immune cells and structural proteins. This image was generated post-acquisition using MCD Viewer software designed for visualizing, reviewing and exporting mass cytometry data. The pseudo-colored image above highlights four unique cellular markers, with nuclei in blue, CD20 positive B-cells in green, CD3 positive T-cells in yellow and the proliferation marker Ki-67 in magenta. Other markers not represented here allow identification of additional cell subsets, differentiation states and structural features.

Phenocycler-Fusion multiparameter spatial imaging

The Akoya Phenocycler-Fusion imaging system is a multiplexed immunofluorescence imaging system that can identify 100 or more unique protein markers in tissue. This system uses oligonucleotide barcode-labeled antibodies to detect tissue markers. Through cyclic hybridization of unique complementary fluorescent probes and image scanning, investigators can generate high-resolution multiplexed images. Downstream bioinformatics analysis, including cell segmentation, cell classification, nearest neighbor determination and cellular network identification, allows investigators to further determine and identify complex spatial relationships between multiple cell types identified in their target tissue.