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A DELAUNAY TRIANGULATION APPROACH FOR SEGMENTING CLUMPS OF NUCLEI

Abstract

Cell-based fluorescence imaging assays have the potential to generate massive amount of data, which requires detailed quantitative analysis. Often, as a result of fixation, labeled nuclei overlap and create a clump of cells. However, it is important to quantify phenotypic read out on a cell-by-cell basis. In this paper, we propose a novel method for decomposing clumps of nuclei using high-level geometric constraints that are derived from low-level features of maximum curvature computed along the contour of each clump. Points of maximum curvature are used as vertices for Delaunay triangulation (DT), which provides a set of edge hypotheses for decomposing a clump of nuclei. Each hypothesis is subsequently tested against a constraint satisfaction network for a near optimum decomposition. The proposed method is compared with other traditional techniques such as the watershed method with/without markers. The experimental results show that our approach can overcome the deficiencies of the traditional methods and is very effective in separating severely touching nuclei.

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