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Tunable Tensor Voting Improves Grouping of Membrane-bound Macromolecules

Mathematical Methods in Biological Image Analysis, 2009

    L. Loss
    G. Bebis
    B. Parvin


    Membrane-bound macromolecules are responsible for structural support and mediation of cell-cell adhesion in tissues. Quantitative analysis of these macromolecules provides morphological indices for damage or loss of tissue, for example as a result of exogenous stimuli. From an optical point of view, a membrane signal may have nonuniform intensity around the cell boundary, be punctate or diffused, and may even be perceptual at certain locations along the boundary. In this paper, a method for the detection and grouping of punctate, diffuse curvilinear signals is proposed. Our work builds upon the tensor voting and the iterative voting frameworks to propose an efficient method to detect and refine perceptually interesting curvilinear structures in images. The novelty of our method lies on the idea of iteratively tuning the tensor voting fields, which allows the concentration of the votes only over areas of interest. We validate the utility of our system with synthetic and annotated real data. The effectiveness of the tunable tensor voting is demonstrated on complex phenotypic signals that are representative of membrane-bound macromolecular structures.

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