Saturday, October 3, 2009

Imaging Indifference

I can't really get excited about imaging data. I don't know why, they're always really pretty pictures, but today I think I figured it out. Here's how a talk including imaging data typically goes. Slide 1: here is cell line x stained with Nuclear Dye A, and here is the same cell line stained with Membrane Dye B. Slide 2: now let's look at those two images super-imposed. (Ooos and Ahhhs radiate from the crowd). What do you do with that? How does this translate into some sort of metric than can be quantified and then objectively compared to a different situation or cell line. Flow Cytometry, on the other hand, is very quantitative, easily comparable, and believe it or not, objective. I understand the value of microscopy images, but I always feel like it should be validated and quantitated using some analogous technology like Flow Cytometry. Sorry Imaging folks... You may be asking yourself, well, if you're indifferent to imaging, why are you getting an ImageStream? Aha! Herein lies the power of the ImageStream. Pictures for the picture people, and quantitative data for the quantitative people.