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Title: Automatic segmentation of cells of different types in fluorescence microscopy images
Author: Fehri, Hamid
ISNI:       0000 0004 7960 3401
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2018
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Recognition of different cell compartments, types of cells, and their interactions is a critical aspect of quantitative cell biology. This provides a valuable insight for understanding cellular and subcellular interactions and mechanisms of biological processes, such as cancer cell dissemination, organ development and wound healing. Quantitative analysis of cell images is also the mainstay of numerous clinical diagnostic and grading procedures, for example in cancer, immunological, infectious, heart and lung disease. Computer automation of cellular biological samples quantification requires segmenting different cellular and sub-cellular structures in microscopy images. However, automating this problem has proven to be non-trivial, and requires solving multi-class image segmentation tasks that are challenging owing to the high similarity of objects from different classes and irregularly shaped structures. This thesis focuses on the development and application of probabilistic graphical models to multi-class cell segmentation. Graphical models can improve the segmentation accuracy by their ability to exploit prior knowledge and model inter-class dependencies. Directed acyclic graphs, such as trees have been widely used to model top-down statistical dependencies as a prior for improved image segmentation. However, using trees, a few inter-class constraints can be captured. To overcome this limitation, polytree graphical models are proposed in this thesis that capture label proximity relations more naturally compared to tree-based approaches. Polytrees can effectively impose the prior knowledge on the inclusion of different classes by capturing both same-level and across-level dependencies. A novel recursive mechanism based on two-pass message passing is developed to efficiently calculate closed form posteriors of graph nodes on polytrees. Furthermore, since an accurate and sufficiently large ground truth is not always available for training segmentation algorithms, a weakly supervised framework is developed to employ polytrees for multi-class segmentation that reduces the need for training with the aid of modeling the prior knowledge during segmentation. Generating a hierarchical graph for the superpixels in the image, labels of nodes are inferred through a novel efficient message-passing algorithm and the model parameters are optimized with Expectation Maximization (EM). Results of evaluation on the segmentation of simulated data and multiple publicly available fluorescence microscopy datasets indicate the outperformance of the proposed method compared to state-of-the-art. The proposed method has also been assessed in predicting the possible segmentation error and has been shown to outperform trees. This can pave the way to calculate uncertainty measures on the resulting segmentation and guide subsequent segmentation refinement, which can be useful in the development of an interactive segmentation framework.
Supervisor: Johnston, Simon ; Frangi, Alejandro Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available