Premium Feature — Available with all Premium Editions of LabKey Server. Learn more or contact LabKey.

LabKey Server enables high-throughput analysis for several types of assays, including flow cytometry assays. LabKey’s flow cytometry solution provides a high-throughput pipeline for processing flow data. In addition, it delivers a flexible repository for data, analyses and results.

This page reviews the FlowJo-only approach for analyzing smaller quantities of flow data, then explains the two ways LabKey Server can help your team manage larger volumes of data. It also covers LabKey Server’s latest enhancement (tracking of background well information) and future enhancements to the LabKey Flow toolkit.


Challenges of Using FlowJo Alone

Traditionally, analysis of flow cytometry data begins with the download of FCS files from a flow cytometer. Once these files are saved to a network share, a technician loads the FCS files into a new FlowJo workspace, draws a gating hierarchy and adds statistics. The product of this work is a set of graphs and statistics used for further downstream analysis. This process continues for multiple plates. When analysis of the next plate of samples is complete, the technician loads the new set of FCS files into the same workspace.

Moderate volumes of data can be analyzed successfully using FlowJo alone; however, scaling up can prove challenging. As more samples are added to the workspace, the analysis process described above becomes quite slow. Saving separate sets of sample runs into separate workspaces does not provide a good solution because it is difficult to manage the same analysis across multiple workspaces. Additionally, looking at graphs and statistics for all the samples becomes increasingly difficult as more samples are added.

Solutions: Using LabKey Server to Scale Up

LabKey Server can help you scale up your data analysis process in two ways: by streamlining data processing and by serving as a flexible data repository. When your data are relatively homogeneous, you can use your LabKey Server to apply an analysis script generated by FlowJo to multiple runs. When your data are too heterogeneous for analysis by a single script, you can use your LabKey Server as a flexible data repository for large numbers of analyses generated by FlowJo workspaces. Both of these options help you speed up and consolidate your work.

Use LabKey as a Data Repository for FlowJo Analyses

Analyses performed using FlowJo can be imported into LabKey where they can be refined, quality controlled, and integrated with other related data. The statistics calculated by FlowJo are read upon import from the workspace.

Graphs are generated for each sample and saved into the database. Note that graphs shown in LabKey are recreated from the Flow data using a different analysis engine than FlowJo uses. They are intended to give a rough 'gut check' of accuracy of the data and gating applied, but are not straight file copies of the graphs in FlowJo.

Annotate Flow Data Using Metadata, Keywords, and Background Information

Extra information can be linked to the run after the run has been imported via either LabKey Flow or FlowJo. Sample information uploaded from an Excel spreadsheet can also be joined to the well. Background wells can then be used to subtract background values from sample wells. Information on background wells is supplied through metadata.

The LabKey Flow Dashboard

You can use LabKey Server exclusively as a data repository and import results directly from a FlowJo workspace, or create an analysis script from a FlowJo workspace to apply to multiple runs. The dashboard will present relevant tasks and summaries.

Was this content helpful?

Log in or register an account to provide feedback

expand allcollapse all