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1.  Introduction of non-linear elasticity models for characterization of shape and deformation statistics: application to contractility assessment of isolated adult cardiocytes 
BMC Biophysics  2011;4:17.
Background
We are exploring the viability of a novel approach to cardiocyte contractility assessment based on biomechanical properties of the cardiac cells, energy conservation principles, and information content measures. We define our measure of cell contraction as being the distance between the shapes of the contracting cell, assessed by the minimum total energy of the domain deformation (warping) of one cell shape into another. To guarantee a meaningful vis-à-vis correspondence between the two shapes, we employ both a data fidelity term and a regularization term. The data fidelity term is based on nonlinear features of the shapes while the regularization term enforces the compatibility between the shape deformations and that of a hyper-elastic material.
Results
We tested the proposed approach by assessing the contractile responses in isolated adult rat cardiocytes and contrasted these measurements against two different methods for contractility assessment in the literature. Our results show good qualitative and quantitative agreements with these methods as far as frequency, pacing, and overall behavior of the contractions are concerned.
Conclusions
We hypothesize that the proposed methodology, once appropriately developed and customized, can provide a framework for computational cardiac cell biomechanics that can be used to integrate both theory and experiment. For example, besides giving a good assessment of contractile response of the cardiocyte, since the excitation process of the cell is a closed system, this methodology can be employed in an attempt to infer statistically significant model parameters for the constitutive equations of the cardiocytes.
doi:10.1186/2046-1682-4-17
PMCID: PMC3201040  PMID: 21854653
2.  Image Processing Techniques for Assessing Contractility in Isolated Neonatal Cardiac Myocytes 
We describe a computational framework for the quantitative assessment of contractile responses of isolated neonatal cardiac myocytes. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on a practical and accessible method for the assessment of contractility in neonatal cardiocytes. The proposed methodology is comprised of digital video recording of the contracting cell, signal preparation, representation by polar Fourier descriptors, and contractility assessment. The different processing stages are variants of mathematically sound and computationally robust algorithms very well established in the scientific community. The described computational approach provides a comprehensive assessment of the neonatal cardiac myocyte contraction without the need of elaborate instrumentation. The versatility of the methodology allows it to be employed in determining myocyte contractility almost simultaneously with the acquisition of the Ca2+ transient and other correlates of cell contraction. The proposed methodology can be utilized to evaluate changes in contractile behavior resulting from drug intervention, disease models, transgeneity, or other common applications of neonatal cardiocytes.
doi:10.1155/2011/729732
PMCID: PMC3151489  PMID: 21826135
3.  Structure enhancement diffusion and contour extraction for electron tomography of mitochondria 
Journal of structural biology  2009;166(2):144-155.
The interpretation and measurement of the architectural organization of mitochondria depend heavily upon the availability of good software tools for filtering, segmenting, extracting, measuring, and classifying the features of interest. Images of mitochondria contain many flow-like patterns and they are usually corrupted by large amounts of noise. Thus, it is necessary to enhance them by denoising and closing interrupted structures. We introduce a new approach based on anisotropic nonlinear diffusion and bilateral filtering for electron tomography of mitochondria. It allows noise removal and structure closure at certain scales, while preserving both the orientation and magnitude of discontinuities without the need for threshold switches. This technique facilitates image enhancement for subsequent segmentation, contour extraction, and improved visualization of the complex and intricate mitochondrial morphology. We perform the extraction of the structure-defining contours by employing a variational level set formulation. The propagating front for this approach is an approximate signed distance function which does not require expensive re-initialization. The behavior of the combined approach is tested for visualizing the structure of a HeLa cell mitochondrion and the results we obtain are very promising.
doi:10.1016/j.jsb.2009.02.009
PMCID: PMC2676713  PMID: 19254765
Electron tomography; image processing; anisotropic nonlinear diffusion; bilateral filter
4.  Image Processing Techniques for Assessing Contractility in Isolated Adult Cardiac Myocytes 
We describe a computational framework for the comprehensive assessment of contractile responses of enzymatically dissociated adult cardiac myocytes. The proposed methodology comprises the following stages: digital video recording of the contracting cell, edge preserving total variation-based image smoothing, segmentation of the smoothed images, contour extraction from the segmented images, shape representation by Fourier descriptors, and contractility assessment. The different stages are variants of mathematically sound and computationally robust algorithms very well established in the image processing community. The physiologic application of the methodology is evaluated by assessing overall contraction in enzymatically dissociated adult rat cardiocytes. Our results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach in characterizing the true, two-dimensional, “shortening” in the contraction process of adult cardiocytes. We compare the performance of the proposed method to that of a popular edge detection system in the literature. The proposed method not only provides a more comprehensive assessment of the myocyte contraction process but also can potentially eliminate historical concerns and sources of errors caused by myocyte rotation or translation during contraction. Furthermore, the versatility of the image processing techniques makes the method suitable for determining myocyte shortening in cells that usually bend or move during contraction. The proposed method can be utilized to evaluate changes in contractile behavior resulting from drug intervention, disease modeling, transgeneity, or other common applications to mammalian cardiocytes.
doi:10.1155/2009/352954
PMCID: PMC2829623  PMID: 20224633

Results 1-4 (4)