“The infrastructure to manage this information is lagging behind the imaging technology itself,” Dr. Manjunath adds. “Much critical-analysis information is not available to the decision makers. Doctors, for example, currently cannot easily search through image records to make comparisons, retrieve pertinent information and arrive at informed decisions.”
To maximize the use of these imaging technologies, the UCSB team is developing a system to help manage microscopy images and quantitatively analyze bio-image data. The aim is to advance understanding of biological processes by developing and utilizing advanced techniques incorporating imaging, pattern recognition and data mining.
The Bio-Image Semantic Query User Environment (Bisque) system integrates image analysis with database management functionalities, creating a powerful tool for the exchange and exploration of biological images. Bisque handles up to 5-D images, and allows users to store, access, analyze, annotate and share images and related data with colleagues. Now being used at several laboratories in the united states and overseas, the system’s nascent online repository includes more than 13,000 biological images.
To bridge the gap between microscope and database, researchers with the center for Bio-Image Informatics have developed another application—scientist’s digital notebook—to help users create the metadata required by the Bisque database and rapidly upload images to the system. Now one of the most popular downloads from the center’s website, the application allows researchers to manage large collections of biological images and related metadata on local machines and within the Bisque system.
The aim is for tools like these to enable researchers—and future clinicians—to take full advantage of cutting-edge imaging technologies to help patients.
To download the Bisque Database or Digital Notebook applications or learn more about the UCSB Bio-Image Semantic Query User Environment system, visit www.bioimage.ucsb.edu.
by Anna Davison, Senior Writer
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