Big data to help see small cells—1 April 2016

Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) have successfully combined computer analysis with microscopy, to extract highly detailed cellular information that will help distinguish between healthy and diseased cells, in areas as diverse as cancer, injury and inflammation. The approach has shown that subtle biochemical signatures of cells can be captured and then categorised, to an extent that has never been seen before. Professor Ewa Goldys, Deputy Director of the CNBP based at Macquarie University, is excited by the outcomes of the work. “We’ve already been able to successfully detect genetic mutations in cancer cells and bio-markers related to diabetes, as well as to non-invasively distinguish stem cells from other cells in the body. Key to our approach has been the development of a highly bespoke piece of software and building on twenty-first century computing capability. It has allowed us to quantitatively characterise the cell populations being viewed under the microscope, and to then identify colours and patterns related to specific conditions. The use of big data in biology is a rapidly evolving field with a great potential to impact positively on many lives. Our methods will be able to form the framework for future diagnostic tools that will help aid understanding of disease, drug response and therapeutics. It’s an exciting time to be a researcher. Big data is having a big biological impact!”

Image: ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics logo.
Image credit: ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics.

Original Published Date: 
Friday, April 1, 2016