Algorithm for the precise detection of single and cluster cells in microfluidic applications

Mathias Girault, Akihiro Hattori, Hyonchol Kim, Kenji Matsuura, Masao Odaka, Hideyuki Terazono, Kenji Yasuda*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Recent advances in imaging flow cytometry and microfluidic applications have led to the development of suitable mathematical algorithms capable of detecting and identifying targeted cells in images. In contrast to currently existing algorithms, we herein proposed the identification and reconstruction of cell edges based on original approaches that overcome frequent detection limitations such as halos, noise, and droplet boundaries in microfluidic applications. Reconstructed cells are then discriminated between single cells and clusters of round-shaped cells, and cell information such as the area and location of a cell in an image is output. Using this method, 76% of cells detected in an image had an error <5% of the cell area size and 41% of the image had an error <1% of the cell area size (n = 1,000). The method developed in the present study is the first image processing algorithm designed to be flexible in use (i.e. independent of the size of an image, using a microfluidic droplet system or not, and able to recognize cell clusters in an image) and provides the scientific community with a very accurate imaging algorithm in the field of microfluidic applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-741
Number of pages11
JournalCytometry Part A
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Aug 1
Externally publishedYes


  • algorithm
  • cell detection
  • cell reconstruction
  • droplet
  • imaging processing
  • microfluidic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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