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Washington State University Health Sciences Spokane

Cell Sorter Policy

Before using the cell sorter, you must read, print, and sign this policy and send a signed copy to the facility supervisor, Ze Liu, at

  1. No radioactive materials and no BSL-3 FACS sorting are allowed in the facility due to aerosolization.
  2. Exposure to potentially hazardous materials can occur as a result of aerosols produced during sorting. This risk is increased when working with samples containing potential biohazards, such as unfixed human, non-human primate, virally transduced or infected cells, and cells from animals previously exposed to infectious agents. This risk is highest when the operator accepts samples without gathering the most accurate information regarding the contents and procedures to which they have been exposed. Potentially infectious samples to humans should be treated as a potential biohazard risk, and the appropriate Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2) precautions should be exercised. Please contact the facility supervisor, Ze Liu at if you have any potential biohazardous samples. Failure to disclose known biohazards will result in a permanent ban from the Service Center.
  3. Potential users must fill out the sort request form (PDF), and send to facility supervisor’s email: one week in advance. The supervisor will review the request, make a determination of the sample can be safely sorted, and notify the user via email about the decision based on the provided information. Reasoning will be provided in the email if sort request had been denied.
  4. Once the sort request is approved, the user can schedule a time with the facility supervisor. The user will also be emailed a set of guidelines to ensure the safe preparation and transport of samples. If any information has changed since submitting the sort request, please let the facility supervisor know as soon as possible.
  5. The person accompanying the tubes should have intimate knowledge of the samples (cell type, fluorochromes, biohazard status) and goal of the analysis. The person accompanying the sample tubes for cell sorting is responsible for making sure that the data looks correct on the instrument display screen once the operator has made the final adjustments to amplifier gains and compensation settings. If the instrument needs adjustment, the operator should be informed so that changes can be made to bring the settings into compliance with the investigator’s parameters.
  6. Before sorting: Service center staff will perform the following procedures: 1) Pour concentrated bleach into the waste tank to 10% tank volume. 2). Make sure the sheath tank is full. 3) Start up cell sorter software, run Waste A Maintenance [Estimated time ~15min] and run Ethanol Priming [Estimated time ~20min]) 4) Load sorting chip and do auto-calibration with manufacturer recommended alignment bead to make sure that cell sorter works properly.
  7. Cleaning after sorting: Service center staff will perform the following procedure: 10% bleach solution and water will be run through the sample lines. The inside and outside of the sort chamber will be wiped down with 70% ethanol. Areas around the cell sorter will be wiped first with a fresh 10% bleach solution then 70% ethanol to eliminate any potentially aerosolized material that may have been generated during the sorting.
  8. Cancellation Policy: 1) Sort cancellations must be emailed to the facility supervisor, Ze Liu at, 24 hours in advance of the planned sort time. Less than 24-hour notice will incur a charge of the entire time scheduled. 2) If you will be more than 15 minutes late to your appointment, call 8-7633 (no emails, please). 3) We reserve the right to restrict your access to the facility in the event of frequent last-minute cancellations, late arrivals or not showing up for your appointments at all.
  9. Billing/Rate Changes: 1) The lab is billed the time the sorter is used and the cleanup time after sorting. 0.5-1 hour is typical but can be more if your sort requires special setup. 2) Research lab is responsible for purchasing the chip used for sorting. 3) If poorly prepped samples cause clogging of the instrument, misuse fee applies. 4) Periodically check our web page for updates on the rates charged for our services.

User Signature (Print/sign)_________________________________________