Automated Cell Tracking using Motion Prediction-based Matching and Event Handling

TitleAutomated Cell Tracking using Motion Prediction-based Matching and Event Handling
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsBoukari, F, Makrogiannis, S
JournalIEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
Date PublishedMay/June 2020
KeywordsActive contours, cell event detection and handling, Cell tracking, diseases, graph algorithms, image segmentation, Microscopy, motion analysis, Probabilistic logic, Statistical analysis, Tracking

Automated cell segmentation and tracking enables the quantification of static and dynamic cell characteristics and is significant for disease diagnosis, treatment, drug development, and other biomedical applications. This paper introduces a method for fully automated cell tracking, lineage construction, and quantification. Cell detection is performed in the joint spatio-temporal domain by a motion diffusion-based Partial Differential Equation (PDE) combined with energy minimizing active contours. In the tracking stage, we adopt a variational joint local-global optical flow technique to determine the motion vector field. We utilize the predicted cell motion jointly with spatial cell features to define a maximum likelihood criterion to find inter-frame cell correspondences assuming Markov dependency. We formulate cell tracking and cell event detection as a graph partitioning problem. We propose a solution obtained by minimization of a global cost function defined over the set of all cell tracks. We construct a cell lineage tree that represents the cell tracks and cell events. Finally, we compute morphological, motility, and diffusivity measures and validate cell tracking against manually generated reference standards. The automated tracking method applied to reference segmentation maps produces an average tracking accuracy score (TRA ) of 99 percent, and the fully automated segmentation and tracking system produces an average TRA of 89 percent.