Swiss Flow
Cytometry School

logo July 2020: Course on Computing and Cytometry


The last posted articles ...

Winter School Course in Geneva


The Winter School of Cell Analysis in Immunology was organized by the Swiss Flow Cytometry School together with Claude Lambert (University Hospital, Saint-Etienne, France), under the auspices of the IFCC.

Our excellent speakers were: Ulrich Salzer (Freiburg, Germany), Frédéric Vély (Marseille, France), Camilla Jandus (Geneva, Switzerland), Antonio Cosma (Luxembourg), Anne Wilson (Lausanne, Switzerland), Azzedine Tahiat (Alger, Algeria), Stéphanie Hugues (Geneva, Switzerland), Fouad Seghrouchni (Rabat, Morocco), Peter Jandus (Geneva, Switzerland), Sintia Winkler (Beckman Coulter, Switzerland), François Pujol (BD Biosciences, Switzerland), Thomas Matthes (Geneva, Switzerland), and Claude Lambert (Saint-Etienne, France).

The course hosted fifteen participants coming from Poland, Germany, Portugal, Montenegro, Brazil, France, and Switzerland. Different topics were addressed, including flow cytometry analysis of T cells, B cells, monocytes, basophils, and innate lymphoid cells; applications of flow cytometry in immunodeficiency, tumor immunity, sepsis or hypersensitivity. New technologies like image cytometry and mass cytometry were presented.
The morning program included lectures and question and answer sessions. The afternoons were occupied by wet labs or case studies and data analyses supervised by the experts with the use of several software (Kaluza, FlowJo, Cytobank). The practical laboratory classes included basophil degranulation assay, phagocytosis, multicolor panel design, antigen density determination, T cell activation as well as cytokine production and T cell polarization.

During the workshop, the participants had the opportunity to work on the newest flow cytometers: DxFLEX from Beckman Coulter and BD FACSLyric from BD Biosciences.


Our introduction course had 7 participants from 6 different countries!


Our recent course 'Introductory and refresher course in flow cytometry', first of this year, was given for participants coming from six different countries: Indonesia, Portugal, France, Spain, Italy and Switzerland. And what about instructors at the School that have given this course? They came from Poland, Germany and the Netherlands.

Our School is extremely international and besides participation to the course and learning about flow cytometry, you will meet people from all around the world !


Workshop on computing and cytometry


The SFCS organised a two days workshop on modern computational methods and flow cytometry. Several experts gave lectures: Helena Todorov from Gent (Belgium), Françis Lacombe from Bordeaux (France), Hugues Jacquemin from Namur (Belgium), and Stéphane Maillet from the Mathematical Faculty of the Geneva University. 15 students attended and were introduced into FlowSom, t-SNE and other analysis tools for high dimensional data analysis.


The Swiss Flow Cytometry School goes to Romania!


Nicolas Arraud has been invited by the Romanian Association of Flow Cytometry to teach at the "Flow Cytometry Summer school" in Bucarest and to give a presentation at the annual congress of the Romanian association of Flow Cytometry.


European Congress of Immunology 2018 in Amsterdam


Nicolas Arraud was invited by Beckman Coulter to attend the 2018 European Congress of Immunology and give a talk on "Extracellular Vesicle detection by Flow cytometry".


Ni Hao, China


In May 2019 the SFSC visited China and participated at a Cytometry Congress in Nangking and at a Cytometry course given at the China Headquarters of Beckmann&Coulter Corporation in Shanghai. The course was given for regular users of Cytometry and addressed a group of 20 participants. The course was highly appreciated and future courses in China and South East Asia are already planned.


The New Cytoflex LX is in test at the Swiss Flow Cytometry School


Beckman Coulter Switzerland organised a demonstration on the latest generation Cytoflex LX.
This benchtop machine is housing up to 6 lasers and can handle an impressive 21 colors !
To my knowledge this machine is the only one on the marked offering an infra-red 808 nm laser.
This is because PMT traditionally have a bad sensitivity in the near infra-red to infra-red part of the spectrum.
With its innovative Avalanche Photodiodes (APDs) the Cytoflex LX can detect such low energy photons.
You can then use this laser for live/dead cell discrimination without spillover in any other colors.
In addition, this machine can also be equipped with a True UV 355 nm laser.

With nearly 80kgs and 75 cm by 75 cm footprint this machine offers one of the best colors/space ratio.
Finally the system is designed for upgradability. You can chose a limited number of lasers/colors at beginning and add more lasers later on as the need grows for more colors.


Beckman Coulter supports the Swiss Flow Cytometry School by placing at our disposal a Navios FC


Beckman Coulter Switzerland continues to actively support the Swiss Flow Cytometry School by providing a Navios machine for our teaching courses.

This state of the art IVD flow cytometer is equipped with 3 lasers (Blue, Red and Violet) and can measure up to 10 different channels simultaneously! Controlled by the Navios software (an updated version of CXP software) this flow cytometer, used by numerous diagnostics laboratories worldwide, can measure up to 30,000 cells per second.
Together with Kaluza Analysis software 1.2 it makes 10-color cytometry easily accessible to everyone and constitutes an ideal machine for our trainings.

The Swiss Flow Cytometry School goes to Cameroon!


From October 25th to 27th, Prof Thomas Matthes and Dr. Nicolas Arraud together with Drs Claude Lambert (St Etienne, France) and Fouad Seghrouchni (Rabat,Morocco) attended a scientific meeting at the Centre International de Référence Chantal Biya (CIRCB) in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

This meeting gathered hematologists and lab specialists from all over the country with the goal of improving leukemia and lymphoma diagnostics in Cameroon, as well as the diagnostics if primary immunodeficiencies. A hands-on workshop on cytometry was part of the meeting.

We hope this is the beginning of a fruitful collaboration!


Sysmex Cube 8 hosted at the Swiss Flow Cytometry School


The company SYSMEX kindly lends us a CyFlow Cube 8 for testing/teaching.

This small machine (50x47x37 cm) is a fully integrated 2 laser (488 & 638 nm) and 6 colors flow cytometer. The Cube 8 offers some interesting features like the True Volumetric Absolute Counting (TVAC), which allows the user to determine an absolute cell concentration without the use of counting beads, and is fitted with the new CyFlow software that is compliant with data from other flow cytometers.

To test TVAC, Sysmex also lends us a Nucleocounter NC200 cell counter for comparative analysis.
Nicolas is looking forward to test it!


Multiparametric flow cytometry data analysis with R.


With machines offering more and more colors for running experiments, the next big challenge of our school is to develope tools to deal with such complex data. Fortunately, other techniques like mass cytometry (CyTOF, Fluidigm, CA, USA) faced the very same problem and developed interesting tools requiring the R environment (e.g: this figure extracted from Bendall Science 2011). We are now aiming at acquiring such tools and translating them into efficient and user friendly tools for clinical flow cytometry. Perhaps a new course coming soon?


The Swiss Flow Cytometry School hosts a Cytoflex S.


The Cytoflex S is the latest research machine released by Beckman Coulter. The machine is equipped with 4 lasers (405, 488, 561 & 638 nm) and can deal with up to 13 different colors for a roughly 50 x 50 cm footprint. The addition of the 561 yellow green laser really boosts PE and PE tandems signal.

The machine’s optical system is really impressive with avalanche photodiodes (APD) instead of PMT’s. The Cytoflex performs as good or even better than the Navios/Gallios machines. Nicolas also liked the ability to measure SSC on the violet laser to improve detection of smaller objects. No doubts this machine will become a hit.


The Novocyte from Acea is a machine full of good surprises


Nicolas admits that he was a bit skeptical when he read about the Novocyte: “ A machine with fixed voltages, how can a single voltage fit all my applications?” Then he tried it and realized it worked! The machine is certainly the most user friendly flow cytometer he tested.

Press the power button and the machine will automatically do the time consuming start up and shut down procedure. The sample loader can accommodate various tube sizes even eppendorfs thanks to pressure sensors on the needle. You can prepare a list of tubes to run and the machine can warn you that the sheath is going to be insufficient thanks to scales monitoring the fluid levels.

With a 3 lasers (405,488 & 638 nm), 13 colors capability and the ability to measure the sample acquired thank to its syringe injection, the machine can fit all needs.

Image from Acea website (


The Swiss Flow Cytometry Virtual Lab Network is launched


With the support of Alexion pharma (, the Swiss Flow Cytometry School launched a pilot project about web-based education of cytometry for the participants of our courses.

Our goal is to share anonymous data from real patients addressed to the Geneva University Hospital Flow Cytometry lab and to compare the results with results from the same files analyzed by participants from many countries (Iran, Israel, UAE, Oman; Quatar, Kuwait, Tunisia, Russia, Finland & Greece).

Participant’s results are anonymously compared to one another and to results obtained in our school. The idea is to identify differences or simply errors in gating strategies, calculation methods, reporting, etc… Participants will then receive a global analysis and a personal one with individual comments or suggestions for improvements.

The program plans to send files from 2-3 patients every 3 months allowing 1 month for the participants to submit their answers. Participant’s answers are then processed and a conclusion sent out within 1 month.

No doubt, this will be an interesting experience!