I actually almost laughed out loud, during class when I saw the article title How I learned to love flow cytometry. Because it was so accurate of an title. Over the summer, I actually got some experience working with the machine, and it takes quite a long time to get used to, and it was one of the things that I never quite got used to. I got used to handling mice before even being able to explain how flow cytometry work properly. Being fair, it hurt a lot less to handle flow cytometry. The machine had a lot of problems, but biting the people handling them was not one of them. to be honest, I still can't explain it very well, and if I don't write it down somewhere I will probably not be able to remember any of it.
Basically, flow cytometry is when cells are labeled with specific antibodies and tags then the cells are passed through the machine to detect certain proteins such as antigens and other proteins. when the cell is passed through the tube the computer shines the laser at it and record the size of the cell, the weight of the cell, and what label it has. the scientist using the machine can change the graphs so that they can make a bunch of graphs that suit their needs. one thing that can be done is to show whether the cells have clumped or not. another is how much of one cell is expressing a certain protein. By manipulating the graph, the researcher can see that in certain cell population such as t regulatory cells, certain protein is missing in mice that are missing certain mutations. Because there are not as many cells that are needed for this, the technique is popular both in the lab and in a clinical setting.