About the Facility for Aquatic Cytometry

History

Established in 1983 by Dr. Clarice Yentsch, the J. J. MacIsaac Facility for Aquatic Cytometry housed the first flow cytometer used in aquatic science research. Flow cytometry was originally developed for use in medicine and the biomedical industry to count blood and cancer cells. Bigelow Laboratory scientists pioneered its use to see what resides inside the water column and our environmental systems. Today, this multi-user facility, located in the Bigelow Laboratory’s Center for Blue Biotechnology at the Ocean Science and Education Campus in East Boothbay, Maine, is dedicated to applying new technologies to the study of algae and aquatic microbes from marine and freshwater ecosystems. Scientists from around the world use the facility for development of new applications and stains, routine cell counting, cell sorting, and aquatic flow cytometric training. The MacIsaac Facility provides state-of-the art space for the latest cytometric instruments, imaging technologies, and applications. The Facility houses several flow cytometers and cell sorters, microscopy and imaging systems, and a FlowCAM imaging-in-flow analyzer, an instrument invented at Bigelow Laboratory and manufactured by Fluid Imaging Technologies in Scarborough, Maine. A unique aspect of the Facility is its ability to operate off-site, using a portable lab van with a cell sorter to isolate cells from “field” samples. Working in conjunction with Bigelow Laboratory’s National Center for Marine Algae and Microbiota (NCMA), Bigelow Analytical Services (BAS) and the Single Cell Genomics Center (SCGC), typical applications include algal isolation and cultivation, biochemical analysis, and single-cell sorting for whole genome amplification.