integrative Cytomics (iCyt) Support Unit

Integrative Cytomics (iCyt) Support unit platform

Co-funded by iDiv Flexpool Support Unit fund and UFZ
Pollen images

Diversity of microscopic biological particles plays a crucial role in important ecosystem services, e.g. water quality (phytoplankton), air quality and pollination (pollen). Many human-driven activities like climate change, eutrophication or invasive species are expected to massively change the composition of pollen abundance and phytoplankton communities. Monitoring of these tiny particles is therefore an essential task in order to detect diversity changes, issue short-term warnings, generally understand and estimate consequences for ecosystems and society, to communicate these observations in a timely way and to support and derive suitable actions. The monitoring tasks for air and water quality as well as plant-pollinator monitoring are currently performed via microscopic counting which strongly limits sampling capacity and frequency and, as a consequence restricts monitoring to low spatial and temporal resolutions. The iDiv support unit called “iCyt” (“integrative Cytomics”) will measure cells in suspension independent of their origin (water, soil or air samples of plant, animal or human origin). Our unique cutting-edge high-throughput measurement abilities of individual particles in powerful combination with deep-learning algorithms represent a transformative advance for improved air and water quality monitoring, as well as the study of plant-pollinator interactions. In addition, flow cytometry allows studying the DNA quantity of isolated plant nuclei to do ploidy-analysis of plants. The ploidy status of a plant has important ecological implications with respect to trait analysis and physiological performance of plants, relevant for ongoing biodiversity research.
The iCyt-platform facilitates utilization of existing infrastructure to support different kinds of research projects within the iDiv consortium. Several instruments are available (ImageStream X Mk II, FacsAriaII, Accuri, Multisizer) to support iDiv researchers when they need to describe various structural properties of cells in suspensions. Flow cytometry allows a semi-automatic high-throughput workflow that allows orders-of magnitude increase in sample processing compared to existing highly time-consuming microscopic methods.

Support unit instruments

  • ImageStreamX Mk II - special order system (Amnis part of Cytek) at iDiv/ UFZ
  • FACSAria II - special order system (Becton Dickinson) at University of Leipzig
  • Accuri (BD) at iDiv
  • Multisizer 4e (Beckman Coulter) at University of Leipzig and iDiv

iCyt instruments

Support unit staff

Dr. Susanne Dunker (Project coordinator)

Dr. Thomas Hornick

Konstantin Albrecht

Dr. Philippe Krajsic

Current projects

PolDiv project support with pollen analysis

Phenobs support of MSc Till Deilmann, MSc Annalena Lenk, PhD candidate Carolin Plos

Canopy Crane Leipzig support of Bachelor student Emily Scheil (Working group Prof. Dr. Christian Wirth, University of Leipzig)

Dr. Forest project support with pollen analysis

Biotic interaction research support of B.Sc. Ella Schadt, B.Sc. Nele Schildt (Working group of Prof. Dr. Severin Sasso, University of Leipzig)


iCyt-Platform Video

Inauguration ceremony in the new iDiv building High-ranking visitors in our lab during the iDiv building inauguration event 09/2021, including the Minister Presidents of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia (Photo credit: Swen Reichhold)

Forschungsspaziergang UFZ 2022

Sächsische Zeitung 02/2021

LVZ 09/2021

Universitätsmedizin Leipzig 03/2019

Scientific investigators

Prof. Dr. Stan Harpole (PI)

Dr. Susanne Dunker (Project coordinator)

Prof. Dr. Severin Sasso

Dr. Torsten Jakob

Dr. Jan Bumberger

Prof. Dr. Patrick Mäder