Building on recent advances in computer vision and machine learning we are now in the position to monitor complex biological environments and events in the same way are analysing natural scenes. While challenges remain, algorithms for cell segmentation and tracking have matured significantly and can now be used in more routine high-throughput settings. Improved microscopy and imaging platforms not only allow us to image subcellular events at high spatial and temporal resolution, we can now image large tissue sections and capture how various different proteins modulate the cellular microenvironment. Enabled by advances in cell culturing technologies 3D cultures can restore specific biochemical and morphological features that are similar to their in vivo counterparts. This holds the potential for improving relevance of in vitro studies, improving our ability to predict what occurs in vivo.
We are now working towards establishing the spatial and temporal context for biological events and processes. Quantitative image analysis methods are necessary for monitoring the tissue formation process and enabling longer duration time-lapse imaging. Quantitative imaging can be used very effectively to analyse the cell-to-cell and cell-to-matrix interactions that characterize the microenvironment as well as migration and invasion mechanisms. A more ambitious goal is the analysis of collective cell migration, which plays a crucial role in development and disease progression. The talk will provide examples on how quantitative imaging will advance our understanding of biological mechanisms. In addition the talk with show examples of applying similar methods to histology imaging.