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Extracting 3D Vascular Structures from Microscopy Images using Convolutional Recurrent Networks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Russell Bates, Benjamin Irving, Bostjan Markelc, Jakob Kaeppler, Ruth Muschel, Vicente Grau, Julia A. Schnabel

Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 26 May 2017

Bibliographical note

The article has been submitted to IEEE TMI

King's Authors


Vasculature is known to be of key biological significance, especially in the study of cancer. As such, considerable effort has been focused on the automated measurement and analysis of vasculature in medical and pre-clinical images. In tumors in particular, the vascular networks may be extremely irregular and the appearance of the individual vessels may not conform to classical descriptions of vascular appearance. Typically, vessels are extracted by either a segmentation and thinning pipeline, or by direct tracking. Neither of these methods are well suited to microscopy images of tumor vasculature. In order to address this we propose a method to directly extract a medial representation of the vessels using Convolutional Neural Networks. We then show that these two-dimensional centerlines can be meaningfully extended into 3D in anisotropic and complex microscopy images using the recently popularized Convolutional Long Short-Term Memory units (ConvLSTM). We demonstrate the effectiveness of this hybrid convolutional-recurrent architecture over both 2D and 3D convolutional comparators.

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