Europeans develop open-source software for biosciences[ 2012-06-27 ]
Processing bioimaging data has just become easier, thanks to new open-source software for multidimensional image visualisation, processing and analysis, developed by a team of German and Finnish researchers. In the making for the last 10 years, the so-called BioImageXD software is facilitating the analysis of cell and tissue functions, including how molecules move on cell surfaces and how they bond together. Presented in the journal Nature Methods, the study was funded in part by a grant under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
Researchers from Turku and Jyväskylä in Finland and Dresden in Germany are giving the life sciences sector an edge by providing software that enables analysis of cell surface composition. The software also allows researchers to probe the spread of cancer cells in a three-dimensional (3D) environment and to determine how effectively viruses and targeted drugs enter cells, something that has never been done before.
Bioscience and biomedicine research has been intensifying, thanks to the work being performed in cell and tissue imaging with innovative and specialised microscopes. The state-of-the-art technology has also given researchers the means to better study living cells.
But microscopic images must be transformed into 3D models in order to be displayed properly. So while these 3D images provide key information, reliable scientific data needs numerical values that can be used in mathematical calculations, which in turn can be used with extensive datasets.
Enter the German and Finnish researchers who generated precise software specifications for processing imaging data. The key element? The software had to be based on open-source principles, readily accessible to all researchers. The result? BioImageXD.
BioImageXD can help researchers generate completely new analysis methods, process myriad images at the same time and analyse millions of molecules. According to the team, comparative tests showed that BioImageXD is faster and more sensitive than other similar programs.
A University of Jyväskylä research team led by Jyrki Heino kick-started work on the BioImageXD software around a decade ago. Over this time, researchers cooperated to streamline and optimise the software. Pasi Kankaanpää, who now works at the Turku Centre for Biotechnology as Coordinator of the Cell Imaging Core in Finland, headed the project's development.
The Academy of Finland and the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation also supported the study.
Data Source Provider: Nature Methods; University of Turku
Document Reference: Kankaanpää, P. et al., 'BioImageXD: an open, general-purpose and high-throughput image-processing platform', Nature Methods, 2012, 9: 683-689.
Subject Index: Biotechnology; Coordination, Cooperation; Information and communication technology applications ; Life Sciences; Scientific Research