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Michael G. Ormerod


Flow cytometry is widely used in biological research. It also has many applications in the routine clinical laboratory. With an increasing number of fluorescent dyes becoming available and an expanding range of monoclonal antibodies, one of the major probes employed, the applications continue to grow. The growth is also fostered by continuing improvements in the hardware and associated software.

Today, every biological scientist needs to have basic knowledge of flow cytometry in order to utilise properly the technique and have a better understanding of other people’s data, even if they do not use it in their own research. I have designed this book to give that knowledge, aiming at people coming to flow cytometry for the first time. The book has been kept to a reasonable length so that it can be read with an acceptable time. While the book is not comprehensive, I have attempted to cover all the major applications in mammalian biology.

Flow cytometry has been used to study a wide range of organisms, including plant cells, yeasts and bacteria. The large majority of publications have been on mammalian cells and, partly for this reason and partly because of the limitations of my own experience, this handbook deals exclusively with mammalian systems.

Practical protocols have not been given in this short handbook since these have been covered elsewhere by several authors, including myself (Ormerod, M.G., ed., 2000. Flow Cytometry. A Practical Approach. 3rd edition. IRL Press at Oxford University Press, Oxford).

The figures in the book were prepared using FCS Express (www.denovosoftware.com).

Nearly 50 of the Figures in the book have been linked to layouts of the data files on the De Novo Software Web site, so that the reader can see the analysis of the data. Some additional information and data files have also been included. To access these layouts, you will need to download the free FCS Express Reader. When you click the left mouse button on the words 'Data file' at the end of the figure caption, the file will be run.

I would welcome comments from readers, which can be sent to me at the email address below. If you think that you have data files that will fill the inevitable gaps in a book of this nature, or if you think that you have better examples of some data sets, and you are prepared to let me use them, please email them to me with an explanatory text. The advantage of publishing on the Web is that the book can easily be updated. I will, of course, acknowledge any contribution.

I would like to thank the many colleagues who have worked with me over the years and, in particular, Mrs. Jenny Titley, who recorded much of the data shown in the handbook. The contributions of other colleagues who have been so generous in supplying me with data are acknowledged in the text.

I would also like to thank Drs. Robyn Clutterbuck, Willem Corver, Scott Cram, Terry Hoy, David Novo, Peter O’Toole, Brian Shenton and Ian Titley for reading chapters of the first draft and for their helpful comments.

Michael G. Ormerod


May, 2008