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Mining cellular images

NSF Award:

CAREER: Image information extraction from heterogeneous populations of co-cultured cells  (Broad Institute, Inc.)

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Anne Carpenter's lab, based at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, develops advanced methods and software tools to quantify and mine rich information in cellular images. Best known for the development and availability of the cutting-edge, open source software packages CellProfiler and CellProfiler Analyst, the lab works on projects up to 1 million images in size, investigating a wide variety of biological processes and diseases, with a special interest in psychiatric research, infectious disease and cancer.

Open source software created at the lab allows researchers to analyze co-cultured cell systems (where two or more cell types are grown together in order to maintain more native physiological function). Image analysis approaches to these systems will enable experiments in liver regeneration, liver toxicity and other research areas that are increasingly using co-culture methods throughout the biological community.

The lab's image recognition algorithms enabled Todd Golub, a world-renowned cancer researcher at the Broad Institute, to screen leukemia stem cells co-cultured with bone marrow stroma cells. This test provides researchers with a new set of hypotheses to test as potential future strategies for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia.

The lab's software tools also enabled Sangeeta N. Bhatia, director of the Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies at MIT, to complete a high-throughput screen of liver cells and identify chemicals that ultimately will enable them to generate renewable sources of functional human liver cells. This advance could have a major impact on researchers who are working to understand liver function and potentially even in vitro liver engineering.


Images (1 of )

  • green stromal cells with red leukemic stem cells
  • a researchers uses a cellprofiler to analyze cells in a matter of minutes
Green stromal cells with red leukemic stem cells.
Anne Carpenter
A researcher uses a CellProfiler to analyze a large number of cells in minutes.
Len Rubenstein

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