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Researchers have developed a new AI-driven platform that can analyse how pathogens infect our cells with the precision of a trained biologist.
The platform, HRMAn ('Herman'), which stands for Host Response to Microbe Analysis, is open-source, easy-to-use and can be tailored for different pathogens including Salmonella enterica.
Scientists - Francis - Crick - Institute - UCL
Pioneered by scientists at the Francis Crick Institute and UCL, HRMAn uses deep neural networks to analyse complex patterns in images of pathogen and human ('host') cell interactions, pulling out the same detailed characteristics that scientists do by-hand. The research is published in the open access journal eLife, which includes a link to download the platform and access tutorial videos.
"What used to be a manual, time-consuming task for biologists now takes us a matter of minutes on a computer, enabling us to learn more about infectious pathogens and how our bodies respond to them, more quickly and more precisely," says Eva Frickel, Group Leader at the Crick, who led the project. "HRMAn can actually see host-pathogen interactions like a biologist, but unlike us, it doesn't get tired and need to sleep!"
Power - HRMAn—which - KNIME - Platform—the - Team
To demonstrate the power of HRMAn—which runs on the KNIME platform—the team used it to analyse the body's response to Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that replicates in cats and is thought to be carried by more than a third of the world's population.
Researchers in the Crick's High Throughput Screening facility collected over 30,000 microscope images of five different types of Toxoplasma-infected human cells and loaded...
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