A masterclass in Scientific CV writing

Introduction: Another day, another application form

Writing applications for jobs, grants and all manner of other reviews is a continual process within the scientific World. Forms tend to ask for specific, nuanced information leading to more of our precious time being spent digging up decades-worth of buried events just to evidence ‘A time I have communicated with a diverse audience’ than actually writing. Then, we have the doubt to contend with: What if I missed something? Surely I have a better example! I remember doing that – but when was it?

Given A) how short academic contracts can be and B) how many distinct workplaces our generation tends to work in over the course of a career, writing CVs can consume a considerable chunk of our adult lives. The application process is not going anywhere in the near future. We need to ask ourselves how we can make it as painless and efficient as possible.

Well, there are a few ‘hacks’. Apply for a few jobs and you will start to notice themes in the application process and in the ‘winning’ CVs. Let’s go over these themes and learn to not only ‘hack’ our time but more importantly, our success rate. Doing so, we can earn back so much more time to do the things we love – science!

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How to Select the Correct Magnification and Patch Size for Digital Pathology Projects

In digital pathology, input data is often exceedingly too large for DL models to process directly, with Whole Slide Images (WSI) around 100k x 100k pixels. This post provides a quantitative and qualitative method, with code, to help optimize important digital pathology specific hyperparameters: patch size and magnification. Optimizing these variables can decrease training times, lowers hardware requirements, and reduces the amount of data required to effectively train a model.

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Application of ICC profiles to digital pathology images

Background on Color Calibration

Digital whole slide image scanners are designed to take stained tissue on glass slides and digitize them into bytes for usage in the digital world. The process by which slide scanners perform this operation does not produce a perfect digital equivalent of the original slide as the hardware involved (led/blub, camera sensor, quantizer) can introduce some biases during the sampling process. For example, different camera sensors may detect colors with different levels of specificity/accuracy/density, resulting in similar but not perfect representations of the associated real-world subjects.

Concretely, there is often a difference between the color you perceive in the real-world under a microscope versus what you would see if you looked at the corresponding digital copy of the same slide. This blog post discusses how to correct for this discrepancy using ICC profiles.

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Using Paquo to directly interact with QuPath project files for usage in digital pathology machine learning

This is an updated version of the previously described workflow on how to load and classify annotations/detections created in QuPath for usage in downstream machine learning workflows. The original post described how to use the Groovy programming language used by QuPath to export annotations/detections as GeoJSON from within QuPath, made use of a Python script to classify them, and lastly used another Groovy script to reimport them. If you are not familiar with QuPath and/or its annotations you should probably read the original post first to provide better context and understanding of the respective workflows, as well as being able to appreciate the more elegant approach taken here. If you are already using the described approach, you should be able to easily modify it to follow this newer approach.

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Tutorial: Quick Annotator for Tubule Segmentation

The manual labeling of large numbers of objects is a frequent occurrence when training deep learning classifiers in the digital histopathology domain. Often this can become extremely tedious and potentially even insurmountable.

To aid people in this annotation process we have developed and released Quick Annotator (QA), a tool which employs a deep learning backend to simultaneously learn and aid the user in the annotation process. A pre-print explaining this tool in more detail is available [here].

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Transferring data FASTER to the GPU With Compression

Utilization of current GPUs is often limited by the ability to get the data onto and off the device quickly. More precisely, this means taking data from the host RAM, transferring it over the PCI-e bus to the GPU RAM is the bottleneck of many deep learning use cases.

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The noise in our digital pathology slides

In adding new features to HistoQC , I stumbled upon a very interesting insight that I thought I would take a moment to share. The amount of noise and artifacts in digital pathology (DP) whole slide images (WSI) is far more extensive than I had previously thought.

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Converting an existing image into an Openslide compatible format

Many digital pathology tools (e.g., our quality control tool, HistoQC), employ Openslide, a library for reading whole slide images (WSI).  Openslide provides a reliable abstraction away from a number of proprietary WSI file-formats, such that a single programmatic interface can be employed to access WSI meta and image data.

Unfortunately, when smaller regions of interest, or new images, are created in tif/png/jpg formats they no longer remain compatible with OpenSlide. This blog post discusses how to take any image and convert it into an OpenSlide compatible WSI, with embedded metadata.

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Exporting and re-importing annotations from QuPath for usage in machine learning

Update-Nov 2020: Code has now been placed in github which enables the reading and writing of compressed geojson files at all stages of the process described below. Compression reduces the file size by approximately 93% : )

QuPath is a digital pathology tool that has become especially popular because it is both easy to use to and supports a large number of different whole slide image (WSI) file formats. QuPath is also able to perform a number of relevant analytical functions with a few mouse clicks. Of interest in this blog post is mentioning that the pathologists we tend to work with are either already familiar with QuPath, or find it easier to learn versus other tools. As a result, QuPath has become a goto tool for us for both the creation, and review of, annotations and outputs created by our algorithms.

Here we introduce a robust method using GeoJSON for exporting annotations (or cell objects) from QuPath, importing them into python as shapely objects, operating upon them, and then re-importing a modified version of them back into QuPath for downstream usage or review. As an example use case we will be looking at computationally identifying lymphocytes in WSIs of melanoma metastases using a deep learning classifier.

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