U.S. Geological Survey - Environmental Health

Photomicroscopy and Flow Cytometry Laboratory — Lafayette, Louisiana

About the Laboratory

Microbiologists at the Photomicroscopy and Flow Cytometry Laboratory develop and apply biomarkers to evaluate the potential impacts of environmental contaminants at the cellular and molecular levels. Because molecular and biochemical responses of cells are preceded by chemical changes in nuclei, cytoplasm, membranes, and extracellular fluids, these responses can be diagnostic of contaminant exposures.

Conceptual diagram of the flow cytometry technique
Conceptual diagram of the flow cytometry technique. Flow cytometry is a technique for rapidly analyzing large numbers of animal cells using light-scattering, fluorescence, and absorbance measurements. Image Credit: Jill A. Jenkins, USGS.
Four graphs depicting flow cytometry results
Flow cytometry results from testicular tissue collected from two yellow perch (Perca flavescens) from Chesapeake Bay tributaries Mattawoman Creek (A, B) and South River (C, D). Modified from figure 5 from Jenkins and others, 2015.

Key Analytical Capabilities

  • Cell viability and motility
  • Mitochondrial membrane potential
  • Apoptosis (programmed cell death)
  • Liver enzyme vitality
  • Ploidy
  • DNA fragmentation
  • Cell cycle/proliferation
  • Genome size
  • Cell counts
  • Blood cell type identification
  • Epigenetics
  • Immunopheno typing
Microscopic photo of spermatozoa from common carp - Cyprinus carpio - testes
Eosin-nigrosin staining of spermatozoa from common carp (Cyprinus carpio) testes collected from the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada. Figure 4 from Jenkins and others, 2018.

Key Instrumentation

  • Flow Cytometer
  • Computer Assisted Sperm Motion Analysis (CASA) System
  • Microscopes and microscopic image analysis software


  Get More Information on Our Capabilities


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Page Last Modified: 18-Apr-2018 @ 10:29:05 AM EDT