Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Computer Science

First Advisor

Dr. Jinze Liu

Second Advisor

Dr. Lin Yang


Nuclei/Cell detection is usually a prerequisite procedure in many computer-aided biomedical image analysis tasks. In this thesis we propose two automatic nuclei/cell detection frameworks. One is for nuclei detection in skeletal muscle fiber images and the other is for brain tumor histopathological images.

For skeletal muscle fiber images, the major challenges include: i) shape and size variations of the nuclei, ii) overlapping nuclear clumps, and iii) a series of z-stack images with out-of-focus regions. We propose a novel automatic detection algorithm consisting of the following components: 1) The original z-stack images are first converted into one all-in-focus image. 2) A sufficient number of hypothetical ellipses are then generated for each nuclei contour. 3) Next, a set of representative training samples and discriminative features are selected by a two-stage sparse model. 4) A classifier is trained using the refined training data. 5) Final nuclei detection is obtained by mean-shift clustering based on inner distance. The proposed method was tested on a set of images containing over 1500 nuclei. The results outperform the current state-of-the-art approaches.

For brain tumor histopathological images, the major challenges are to handle significant variations in cell appearance and to split touching cells. The proposed novel automatic cell detection consists of: 1) Sparse reconstruction for splitting touching cells. 2) Adaptive dictionary learning for handling cell appearance variations. The proposed method was extensively tested on a data set with over 2000 cells. The result outperforms other state-of-the-art algorithms with F1 score = 0.96.