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Making the Most of Quarantine

By: Janelle Shook

Living and working in quarantine is a new experience for many of us.  Depending on how many other beings are in your space, it can be noisy and stressful too. But if you’ve managed to get a good pair of headphones and good internet connection, quarantine is a great time to read, learn, and focus on activities that we have been putting off because there was never enough time. 

If becoming better acquainted with the Cytek Aurora and SpectroFlo software has been stuck on your to-do list, then this list is for you.  Before diving in, grab a healthy snack and beverage, put your toilet paper inventory anxiety at ease, and grab those headphones. Let’s get started:


Acquaint Yourself with the Aurora User Community

All Aurora and Northern Lights users can leverage the Aurora User Community, a forum to post questions, answer other users’ questions, get updates on user group meetings and software releases, and access archived content from past user group meetings. Log in to your account and follow our guide on Getting the Most Out of the Aurora User Forum as you explore, reply to posts, create new posts, private message and network with other users, and thank other users for their help. If you have an account but can’t remember your password, use the Lost Password button on the login page to reset it.  If you can’t locate the password reset e-mail, check your Spam or Junk folder. 

forum lost password


Become a SpectroFlo Expert

There are currently 39 videos in our SpectroFlo Video Tutorials collection.  You can check out the full playlist here. If you’ve never used SpectroFlo, definitely watch the first 6 videos in the list (~40 minutes) to understand the full workflow from start up to shutdown. If you’re only interested in specific topics, scroll through the full list to see your options. If you want email notifications from YouTube when new videos are uploaded, click the red Subscribe button. Can’t find the tutorial you need? Let us know.

SpectroFlo Video Tutorials Playlist


Catch Up on Relevant Scientific Publications

Naturally, as more Auroras and Northern Lights are installed around the world, we also see more publications sharing a lot of interesting applications and findings. We keep a list of all publications that leverage our Aurora and Northern Lights in our Resources section under Publications. You can filter the publications to display only those involving human subjects, or mouse, and so forth by clicking on of the Publications sub-menus.  Or, to search the publications displayed on the page for a specific term, use the Filter Visible Items search box at the top of each page.  Last but not least, if you’ve published your work with the Aurora or Northern Lights and it’s not displayed in our collection, let us know.

Publications List


Familiarize Yourself with More Dyes

What better time to get better acquainted with the signatures of new dyes than when quarantined at home? Flip through the fluorochrome guideline for your instrument configuration and memorize which laser(s) excite each dye, figure out which dyes will have lots of spread, and which will have little spread into other dyes. 

For a more interactive experience, spend some time playing with Cytek’s free Full Spectrum Viewer. Figure out which dyes have high similarity indices and hence are very challenging to use together. Use the peak channel filter to narrow the list of dyes based on their maximum emission characteristics. Change the configurations to see which dyes become viable options as more lasers are added. We are updating the Full Spectrum Viewer monthly with new dyes based on requests submitted by users through the link near the bottom of the page. Some dyes are easy to obtain and add quickly while , some dyes take some time. If you’re willing to provide single stained samples (along with a corresponding unstained sample) to get more dyes added to our viewer faster, let us know. Our goal is to have data for all of the dyes our users are building into their Aurora panels available in the viewer, and to keep the tool free and open access for all.

Spectrum Viewer

Become a High Dimensional Data Analysis Expert

If you’ve been wanting to play with more advanced analysis tools and learn more about high parameter visualization and clustering tools, now is a great time to do so.  Many flow cytometry software vendors are offering free subscriptions for a limited time.  Check out Laura Johnston’s growing list of free software and tools here. Others not already on her list include:

  • SpectroFlo Limited License: Cytek developed a free version of SpectroFlo that Aurora and Northern Lights users can run for free through June 30, 2020. Log in to the Aurora User Community to download the installer.  Need an account? Let us know.
  • OMIQ: Learn how to use several high dimensional tools by registering to use their platform free for 21 days. Then walk through the OMIQ Cytometry Analysis Tutorial to get up and running tSNEs, FlowSOMs, and much more.


Spread the Word

Know a friend or colleague that is interested in full spectrum cytometry?  Take this time to show them the pros and cons, share your knowledge and even walk through an existing data set with those eager to learn around you.