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Volumetric Segmentation of Cell Cycle Markers in Confocal Images Using Machine Learning and Deep Learning


Faraz Ahmad Khan

Assistant Professor

Professor of Computer Science


© Copyright © 2020 Khan, Voß, Pound and French. Understanding plant growth processes is important for many aspects of biology and food security. Automating the observations of plant development—a process referred to as plant phenotyping—is increasingly important in the plant sciences, and is often a bottleneck. Automated tools are required to analyze the data in microscopy images depicting plant growth, either locating or counting regions of cellular features in images. In this paper, we present to the plant community an introduction to and exploration of two machine learning approaches to address the problem of marker localization in confocal microscopy. First, a comparative study is conducted on the classification accuracy of common conventional machine learning algorithms, as a means to highlight challenges with these methods. Second, a 3D (volumetric) deep learning approach is developed and presented, including consideration of appropriate loss functions and training data. A qualitative and quantitative analysis of all the results produced is performed. Evaluation of all approaches is performed on an unseen time-series sequence comprising several individual 3D volumes, capturing plant growth. The comparative analysis shows that the deep learning approach produces more accurate and robust results than traditional machine learning. To accompany the paper, we are releasing the 4D point annotation tool used to generate the annotations, in the form of a plugin for the popular ImageJ (FIJI) software. Network models and example datasets will also be available online.


Khan, F. A., Voß, U., Pound, M. P., & French, A. P. (2020). Volumetric Segmentation of Cell Cycle Markers in Confocal Images Using Machine Learning and Deep Learning. Frontiers in Plant Science, 11, Article 1275.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 5, 2020
Online Publication Date Aug 28, 2020
Publication Date Aug 28, 2020
Deposit Date Dec 1, 2020
Publicly Available Date Dec 2, 2020
Journal Frontiers in Plant Science
Electronic ISSN 1664-462X
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Article Number 1275
Public URL
Publisher URL


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