The University of Iowa Flow Cytometry Facility was established in 1979 and served 140 principal investigators
spanning 33 departments across four colleges in 2021. This group works on diverse biomedical research
projects and requires instruments capable of accommodating a wide range of demands, including high-
parameter high-speed cell sorting in a biologically safe manner. Our Facility currently operates two heavily
used cell sorters, a Becton Dickinson (BD) FACSAria Fusion SORP and a BD FACS Aria II/SORP. Prior to
acquiring a second cell sorter in 2010, the Facility had a minimum of a one-month backlog for sorting
experiments, which interfered with the ability of investigators to complete projects efficiently, putting them at a
competitive disadvantage. Given the number of users and complexity of the research being conducted at our
facility, two cell sorters are necessary to meet research demands of NIH-funded investigators at this institution.
The Facility’s FACS Aria II/SORP was installed in May 2010 and serves as a work horse for a broad range of
cell sorting experiments. However, over time it has become more difficult to support. BD discontinued sales of
the FACS Aria II/SORP family of instruments in 2017 and stopped offering service contracts in early 2021.
Instrument software cannot be updated without removing the administrator profile, which effectively ends
software support. Third party suppliers do not offer FACS Aria II/SORP parts. BD no longer sells customer
preventative maintenance kits. With parts and support difficult to obtain, it is increasingly likely that an
unrecoverable failure will render the instrument unusable. Notably, our facility is the sole cell-sorting provider
on campus. The only other publicly accessible cell sorter in the state of Iowa is housed at Iowa State
University, approximately 130 miles away. The inevitable retirement or failure of the FACS Aria II/SORP will
have a significant adverse impact on the timely completion of the research projects of numerous investigators.
This proposal requests funds for a Cytek Aurora CS cell sorter to replace our BD FACS Aria II/SORP. We are
also requesting funds to operate this cell sorter in a biohazard safety cabinet, as the Facility’s current cell
sorters are housed in biosafety cabinets, and thus investigators have incorporated the ability to sort
biohazardous samples into their experimental designs. The addition of the Cytek Aurora CS will increase the
number of colors, sensitivity, and capacity provided to investigators for cell sorting experiments and will allow
for continued support and enhancement of research projects carried out at the University of Iowa and in the
State of Iowa. This will ensure the Facility continues to meet its overall goal of providing state-of-the-art
instrumentation that supports biomedical research to improve our understanding of human health and disease.