Automatic segmentation of fluorescence lifetime microscopy images of cells using multiresolution community detection—a first study



Inspired by a multiresolution community detection based network segmentation method, we suggest an automatic method for segmenting fluorescence lifetime (FLT) imaging microscopy (FLIM) images of cells in a first pilot investigation on two selected images. The image processing problem is framed as identifying segments with respective average FLTs against the background in FLIM images. The proposed method segments a FLIM image for a given resolution of the network defined using image pixels as the nodes and similarity between the FLTs of the pixels as the edges. In the resulting segmentation, low network resolution leads to larger segments, and high network resolution leads to smaller segments. Furthermore, using the proposed method, the mean-square error in estimating the FLT segments in a FLIM image was found to consistently decrease with increasing resolution of the corresponding network. The multiresolution community detection method appeared to perform better than a popular spectral clustering-based method in performing FLIM image segmentation. At high resolution, the spectral segmentation method introduced noisy segments in its output, and it was unable to achieve a consistent decrease in mean-square error with increasing resolution.