||Microscopes have been used for more than 400 years to understand biological and biomedical processes by visual observation. Science is the art of observing. But science also requires measuring, or quantifying, what is observed. This is where digital image processing, analysis and informatics, or ‘BioImage Informatics’ comes in. More or less all my research, since I started my PhD studies, has been in this interface between biology/biomedicine and digital image processing and analysis. At times, it has felt (and feels) like bridging two very different cultures. The field has grown enormously over the past years, and researchers working with today’s modern microscope systems are realizing that they can no longer treat their data as ‘pretty pictures’. A recent study claims that 70% of all high-impact bioscience publications rely on advanced microscopy, and 95% of life scientists consider image analysis to be very important for their work, but most consider it to be also the most difficult part of their work.
The scientific questions that we are presented with may not always be very challenging from a theoretical (image analysis) point of view, but have the potential to answer very important (and challenging) biological questions. And the fact that the data is originates from biology, which by nature is heterogeneous in many ways, makes the research challenging. Also, the data processing (feature selection, feature reduction, clustering and classification) becomes more and more challenging as data grows together with feature spaces and sources of noise. During todays talk I will present some current projects, but also try to give a broader view, presenting both our future ideas for expanding our activities in relation to SciLifeLab, and a new ‘European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Network of European BioImage Analysts in LifeScience NEUBIAS’, where I’m in the management committee trying to, over the next four years, spend 60M€ in a way that will ‘boost productivity of bioimaging-based research in Europe’ in the best possible way.