CRG/UPF Flow Cytometry Unit

CRG/UPF Flow Cytometry UnitCRG/UPF Flow Cytometry Unit

CRG/UPF Flow Cytometry Unit

Head of Unit

CRG/UPF Flow Cytometry Unit

Head of Unit


Flow cytometry studies optical parameters emitted by particles (cells, cell fractions). Flow cytometers can study a series of parameters of individual particles simultaneously, quickly and on a large number of individualized particles in suspension. Flow cytometers use lasers as a source of light excitement; therefore, it must be possible to mark the particles with one or more fluorescent substances. Information is also collected regarding the size and structural complexity of each particle. This multiparameter study of each particle enables us to analyse subpopulations in complex samples through electronic sorting. Some cytometers are also equipped with sorting and collection modules for particles of interest.

The most important applications of flow cytometry include those relating to the study of cell surface receptors, nuclear and cytoplasmic antigens, DNA content, enzyme activity, cell integrity and membrane permeability and calcium flows.

The Unit currently hosts six analyzers and four sorters. The sorters are operated by the facility personnel, who also support the users in experimental design and data analysis. The analyzers are operated by the users themselves, after they have been trained. The facility personnel help with the experimental design and supervises and monitors the experiments when necessary.

For further information, please contact Òscar Fornas.

You can learn more about the unit by taking the virtual tour HERE.

Latest Updates

New technology acquisition:

Cytek Aurora Spectral analyzer (Cytek Biosciences)

BigFoot Spectral Cell Sorter (ThermoFisher Scientific)

BD FACSDiscover S8 Cell Sorter (Becton Disckinson)

Implemented applications: 

Flow Karyotyping for chromosome sorting was implemented in our facility to isolate chromosomes for chromosome sequencing. Additionally, this methodology allows the detection of numerical and structural chromosome aberrations. Chromosomes of a single type can be purified facilitating gene mapping or production of chromosome-specific recombinant DNA libraries.


Single Virus Sorting has been developed in our facility to isolate single virus. Single virus isolation allows the access to genome of single virus for sequencing. Single Virus Genomics enable the discovery of some of the likely most abundant and ecologically relevant marine viral species. The method could be used to study other biological entities into different ecosystems.


Pioneering technique to discover viruses present in saliva (22/03/2018)
A group of researchers led by Manuel Martínez García, member of the University of Alicante Department of Physiology, Genetics and Microbiology, with the participation of Oscar Fornas, unit leader at the UPF-CRG Flow Cytometry Unit, has discovered new viruses present in human saliva through the application of techniques that combine flow cytometry, genomics and molecular biology.

Cruz MJ, Martinez-Hernandez F, Garcia-Heredia I, Lluesma M, Fornas O and Martinez-Garcia M.
"Deciphering the Human Virome with Single-Virus Genomics and Metagenomics."
Viruses, March 2018.

Òscar Fornas CV

1996 PhD in Biochemistry at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), Barcelona, Spain.
1996-2000 Postdoc at Oncologic Research Institute (IRO), Barcelona, Spain.
2000-2001 PI at IDIBAPS, Barcelona, Spain.
2001-2010 Head of Flow Cytometry Core Facility at Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), Barcelona, Spain.
Since March 2010 Head of Flow Cytometry Core Facility at UPF/CRG, Barcelona, Spain.



Cytometers Optical Configurations

Download the configurations