CellAnimation: an open source MATLAB framework for microscopy assays.
MOTIVATION: Advances in microscopy technology have led to the creation of high-throughput microscopes that are capable of generating several hundred gigabytes of images in a few days. Analyzing such wealth of data manually is nearly impossible and requires an automated approach. There are at present a number of open-source and commercial software packages that allow the user to apply algorithms of different degrees of sophistication to the images and extract desired metrics. However, the types of metrics that can be extracted are severely limited by the specific image processing algorithms that the application implements, and by the expertise of the user. In most commercial software, code unavailability prevents implementation by the end user of newly developed algorithms better suited for a particular type of imaging assay. While it is possible to implement new algorithms in open-source software, rewiring an image processing application requires a high degree of expertise. To obviate these limitations, we have developed an open-source high-throughput application that allows implementation of different biological assays such as cell tracking or ancestry recording, through the use of small, relatively simple image processing modules connected into sophisticated imaging pipelines. By connecting modules, non-expert users can apply the particular combination of well-established and novel algorithms developed by us and others that are best suited for each individual assay type. In addition, our data exploration and visualization modules make it easy to discover or select specific cell phenotypes from a heterogeneous population. AVAILABILITY: CellAnimation is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). CellAnimationsource code and documentation may be downloaded from www.vanderbilt.edu/viibre/software/documents/CellAnimation.zip. Sample data are available at www.vanderbilt.edu/viibre/software/documents/movies.zip. CONTACT: email@example.com SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supplementary data available at Bioinformatics online.