In the early days of neuroscience research, scientists painstakingly stained brain cells and drew by hand what they saw in a microscope. Fast forward to 2018 and machines may be able to learn how to do that work. According to a new study in Cell, it may be possible to teach machines how to pick out features in neurons and other cells that have not been stained or undergone other damaging treatments. The study was partially funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.
“This approach has the potential to revolutionize biomedical research,” said Margaret Sutherland, Ph.D., program director at the NINDS.
“Researchers are now generating extraordinary amounts of data. For neuroscientists, this means that training machines to help analyze this information can help speed up our understanding of how the cells of the brain are put together and in applications related to drug development.”