Instance segmentation of neural cells plays an important role in brain study. However, this task is challenging due to the special shapes and behaviors of neural cells. Existing methods are not precise enough to capture their tiny structures, e.g., filopodia and lamellipodia, which are critical to the understanding of cell interaction and behavior. To this end, we propose a novel deep multi-task learning model to jointly detect and segment neural cells instance-wise. Our method is built upon SSD, with ResNet101 as the backbone to achieve both high detection accuracy and fast speed. Furthermore, unlike existing works which tend to produce wavy and inaccurate boundaries, we embed a deconvolution module into SSD to better capture details. Experiments on a dataset of neural cell microscopic images show that our method is able to achieve better per- formance in terms of accuracy and efficiency, comparing favorably with current state-of-the-art methods.
Fast Neural Cell Detection Using Light-Weight SSD Neural Network
Identifying the lineage path of neural cells is critical for understanding the development of brain. Accurate neural cell detection is a crucial step to obtain reliable delineation of cell lineage. To solve this task, in this paper we present an efficient neural cell detection method based on SSD (single shot multibox detector) neural network model. Our method adapts the original SSD architecture and removes the un- necessary blocks, leading to a light-weight model. More- over, we formulate the cell detection as a binary regression problem, which makes our model much simpler. Experimen- tal results demonstrate that, with only a small training set, our method is able to accurately capture the neural cells under severe shape deformation in a fast way.
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