QMRI flow cytometry and cell sorting facility

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Contact details for the QMRI Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting facility and its staff members.

QMRI Cell Sorting and Flow Cytometry Facility



Centre for Inflammation Research
University of Edinburgh
Queens Medical Research Institute
47 Little France Crescent

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Post Code
EH16 4TJ


  • Monday - Friday
    9am - 5pm

Shonna Johnston

Flow Cytometry Facility Manager

  • QMRI Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting Facility

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Shonna has been continuously employed in this flow cytometry lab since 2000, overseeing its development from being the sole member of staff, through to its current status as a key core facility within the QMRI, employing 3 members of staff and capable of supporting the institute's 450 researchers.

Following her undergrad in Pharmacology at the University of Edinburgh (UoE), she held positions in the Clinical Pharmacology Unit, UoE, performing immunoassays and the Protein Fractionation Centre of the Blood Transfusion Service, where she utilized various biochemical measurement techniques to high levels of GLP. She then moved to the Centre for Inflammation Research (CIR) where she managed the tissue culture lab and developed in-house antibody production by culturing hybridoma lines, conjugating the antibodies produced to fluorochromes before titrating and validating by flow cytometry. This accumulated experience assisted her move to the CIR flow cytometry lab as she was able to advise researchers on sample preparation and develop the lab as a service facility. Working with different internal and external groups, she quickly gained considerable knowledge of many cell types.

She is involved in both local and national flow cytometry groups/societies; FlowCytometryUK; Scottish Society of Cytomics, and its predecessor, the Northern Flow Group; as well as the Edinburgh Flow Group.

Within her current position, she has also facilitated management of the imaging facility, which has given her a greater understanding of cells and their processes from a different perspective. 

Co-Author Papers: Shonna Johnston Publications

Dr. Will Ramsay

Flow Cytometry Specialist

  • QMRI Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting Facility

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Will joined the QMRI Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting facility in 2013. He has a broad background in biologically focused interdisciplinary sciences, having pursued an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from the University of Dundee followed by postgraduate study at Heriot-Watt University for a master’s degree in Nanotechnology & Microsystems and a doctorate for work developing Biophotonic tools for single cell biology.

Ailsa Laird

Flow Cytometry Technician

  • QMRI Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting Facility

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Ailsa has recently joined the QMRI Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting Facility from the Iain Fraser Cytometry Centre at the University of Aberdeen where she has worked over the past 4 years and therefore brings with her a considerable amount of flow cytometry experience. She first became proficient in flow cytometry during the placement year of her Biochemistry degree at the University of Glasgow. Ailsa worked for AstraZeneca where she developed multi-colour immunophenotyping assays for the assessment of tumour-infiltrating immune cell populations after treatment with immune targeted agents. She is active member of the flow cytometry community both within Scotland and the UK and regularly teaches on national flow cytometry courses.


Previous Members of Staff

Dr. Mari (Pattison) George: Flow Cytometry Research Assistant (2016-2022)

Mari is the newest member of staff at the QMRI Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting Facility, having joined the team in October 2016. She was first introduced to flow cytometry during her undergrad at The University of Glasgow and gained plenty of practical experience during her PhD at The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh. Her PhD aim was to investigate the effects of ageing on the murine immune system, which led her to routinely perform flow cytometry with up to 10 parameters.

Since working here at the facility, she has increased her practical experience and knowledge on flow cytometry and learned much about the intricacies of cell sorting. Mari has become active within the Scottish Society of Cytomics (SSC) Committee, and has also become a valued member of the team as the facility continues to accumulate more cutting edge equipment and continue to provide exceptional support and service.

Fiona Rossi: Flow Cytometry Technician (2008-2014)