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In Bioinformatics (Oxford, England)

MOTIVATION : Biological studies of dynamic processes in living cells often require accurate particle tracking as a first step toward quantitative analysis. Although many particle tracking methods have been developed for this purpose, they are typically based on prior assumptions about the particle dynamics, and/or they involve careful tuning of various algorithm parameters by the user for each application. This may make existing methods difficult to apply by non-expert users and to a broader range of tracking problems. Recent advances in deep-learning techniques hold great promise in eliminating these disadvantages, as they can learn how to optimally track particles from example data.

RESULTS : Here, we present a deep-learning-based method for the data association stage of particle tracking. The proposed method uses convolutional neural networks and long short-term memory networks to extract relevant dynamics features and predict the motion of a particle and the cost of linking detected particles from one time point to the next. Comprehensive evaluations on datasets from the particle tracking challenge demonstrate the competitiveness of the proposed deep-learning method compared to the state of the art. Additional tests on real-time-lapse fluorescence microscopy images of various types of intracellular particles show the method performs comparably with human experts.

AVAILABILITY AND IMPLEMENTATION : The software code implementing the proposed method as well as a description of how to obtain the test data used in the presented experiments will be available for non-commercial purposes from

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION : Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

Yao Yao, Smal Ihor, Grigoriev Ilya, Akhmanova Anna, Meijering Erik