General FAQs MMI CellEctor

Can I isolate single cells with the MMI CellEctor?

  • Yes, you can. The system is specifically designed for isolating single or rare cells in suspension.

What size of cells can I work with?

  • The cells are isolated by using a glass capillary these are available in sizes 10-40 Microns.

Can I use auto recognition to find the cells of interest?

  • Yes you can, the MMI Cell Explorer software add on is the only Cell recognition software package on the market that was specifically designed for working with single cells. This worked best with fluorescently labelled cells but can also be used for unlabelled cells.

How do I ensure the cells are viable?

  • Make sure you have a good enrichment protocol and prepare the sample in a suitable aqueous media. You aspirate the cells into the capillary which will be loaded with the media of your choice (ie a 50% dilution of PBS buffer). The liquid handling, loading and cleaning of the capillary can all be managed using the MMI Service slide.

How can I maximize the chances of getting only one cell?

  • The benefit of the CellEctor is that you work under full visual control and the trick is to develop a full workflow systematically.
  • Firstly it is key to have a good sample enrichment process (ie IST filters, Screen Cell, Veridex etc).
  • Secondly it may help to add in a dilution step and process you sample in aliquots.
  • Thirdly ensure the system is fully calibrated.
  • Finally method development. Carry out a series of experiments where you vary first the pump in and pump out volumes and then the height of the capillary above the sample. These should be first down in manual mode, then semi automatically and finally fully automatically.

What type of platform can I collect the cells into?

  • The system is designed to work with a wide range of sample platforms based on slide platforms (ie the Ampligrid from Advalytix or the range of IBIDI slides. Please call use if you are needing to collect or deposit your cells onto special slides.

How often do I have to change the capillary?

  • If you take your time with setting up the calibration and you keep the capillary clean (empty out the buffer every evening) then you can use the same capillary for many hundreds of cells. If you try and skip these steps the capillary with become broken and dirty very quickly and so you will replace it much more often.

If I buy a system what training and support do I get?

  • When the system is installed you will get two days training followed up with a second visit 6 weeks later if you want it. In these training sessions you will be shown how to calibrate the system, how to change the capillary and given some help on method development. It helps a lot of you have cells available at this time so we can train you whilst working with you own samples. By the end of this session you will know all of the basics for working alone with the system. In order to develop your workflow you will need to design some experiments in order to optimise the collection of single cells.
  • You also have access to the MMI product and application specialist who is available to discuss issues by phone or email as they arise. They can often offer trick and tips for easier working with the system.
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Microscope based single cell isolation: Laser Microdissection - Capillary cell sorting - Optical Tweezers  
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