Careers in Flow Cytometry

May 2018

First developed in the 1960s and commercialised in the 1970s, flow cytometry and flow cytometry-based cell sorting has in some way contributed to every field of life science research. With the global market for research reagents reaching $2.8 billion in 2017, and a global market for primary antibodies worth $945 million. Flow cytometry products make up a considerable portion of this market. The demand for antibodies suitable for use in flow cytometry-based techniques remains high. In 2017 the top antibody-based research application searched for on Biocompare was flow cytometry (1).

This widespread and well-established technique offers many opportunities for individuals experienced in, and enthusiastic about flow cytometry. A common career path for a scientist with this technical expertise, is laboratory-based academic or commercial research. Utilising the vast array of antibodies available against cell-specific markers and disease targets such as those involved cancer or diabetes; opportunities exist in pre- and post-doctoral research in universities, institutes, hospitals and small and large pharma companies. Many large institutions provide core facilities for their researchers providing flow cytometry services operated and managed by specialised personnel. These personnel run flow cytometry assays or perform cell sorting for the entire institute, thereby providing a valuable service and training to those less versed in the technique.

Opportunities needn’t involve hands on laboratory work. Expertise in flow cytometry can be transferred to many other careers. Technical support is a good example. Commercial companies selling flow cytometry reagents, employ scientists with laboratory experience to provide guidance, and if needed, troubleshooting advice to their customers. The same companies might also employ field-based technicians to install and demonstrate their flow cytometers, and field-based sales representatives to promote their flow cytometry products to their customers. Marketing departments may require flow specialists as product managers to both source and manage products in their flow cytometry product portfolio. Within the life science commercial sector there are many possibilities, and numerous flow cytometry positions can also be found within clinical trials units and clinical diagnostic laboratories.

For tips on how to get a job in flow cytometry, with a focus on how to succeed in a shared resources laboratory (core facilities), see Dr Tim Bushnell’s article - How to Get a Flow Cytometry Job in 5 Steps:

Kristen Haberthur’s article on How Social Media Can up Your Flow Cytometry Game compiles the best of the flow cytometry resources that can be found on social media. Specialised flow cytometry websites utilising twitter and Facebook feeds, flow discussion boards and communities, and twitter feeds from top institutions can be used to expand your knowledge and gain advice, connecting with other scientists and getting updates on the latest innovations:

Whether looking for a new challenge or hoping to launch a career in flow cytometry. Find flow cytometry-related positions on the only website which is dedicated to positions in this area:


(1)    PSL Market Report 2018