Analysis method tracks biological particles in cell microscopy images

March 26, 2014
A team of scientists at Heidelberg University and the German Cancer Research Center has developed a powerful particle analysis technique for live cell microscopy images.

A team of scientists at Heidelberg University and the German Cancer Research Center (also in Heidelberg, Germany) has developed a powerful particle analysis technique for live cell microscopy images. This so-called probabilistic particle tracking method is automatic, computer-based, and can be used for time-resolved two- and three-dimensional (2D and 3D) microscopy image data.

Related: NIR quantitative phase imaging visualizes cellular dynamics through silicon

Automatically tracking the movement of biological particles such as viruses, cell vesicles, or cell receptors is of key importance in biomedical applications for quantitative analysis of intracellular dynamic processes. But manually analyzing time-resolved microscopy images with hundreds or thousands of moving objects is not feasible. Recognizing this, the research team—including Dr. William J. Godinez and associate professor Dr. Karl Rohr of the Biomedical Computer Vision group at Heidelberg's BioQuant Center—developed a particle tracking technique that is based on a mathematically sound method from probability theory that takes into account uncertainties in the image data (such as noise) and exploits knowledge of the application domain.

"Compared to deterministic methods, our probabilistic approach achieves high accuracy, especially for complicated image data with a large number of objects, high object density, and a high level of noise," says Rohr. The method enables determining the movement paths of objects and quantifies relevant parameters such as speed, path length, motion type, or object size. In addition, important dynamic events such as virus-cell fusions are detected automatically.

Full details of the research team's work appear in the journal Nature Methods; for more information, please visit


Follow us on Twitter, 'like' us on Facebook, and join our group on LinkedIn

Subscribe now to BioOptics World magazine; it's free!

About the Author

BioOptics World Editors

We edited the content of this article, which was contributed by outside sources, to fit our style and substance requirements. (Editor’s Note: BioOptics World has folded as a brand and is now part of Laser Focus World, effective in 2022.)

Sponsored Recommendations

How to Tune Servo Systems: The Basics

April 10, 2024
Learn how to tune a servo system using frequency-based tools to meet system specifications by watching our webinar!

Precision Motion Control for Sample Manipulation in Ultra-High Resolution Tomography

April 10, 2024
Learn the critical items that designers and engineers must consider when attempting to achieve reliable ultra-high resolution tomography results here!

Motion Scan and Data Collection Methods for Electro-Optic System Testing

April 10, 2024
Learn how different scanning patterns and approaches can be used in measuring an electro-optic sensor performance, by reading our whitepaper here!

How Precision Motion Systems are Shaping the Future of Semiconductor Manufacturing

March 28, 2024
This article highlights the pivotal role precision motion systems play in supporting the latest semiconductor manufacturing trends.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Laser Focus World, create an account today!