Dr Cynthia Liu

Postdoctoral Researcher, Bioinformatics & cellular genomics Laboratory

Devising new open source and web-based tools enabling researchers to better interpret cell imaging data

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The Problem

New imaging techniques that can ‘see’ at the level of individual cells in tissues promise enormous power for research and the future of medicine. But with this deep resolution comes massive amounts of data – the locations of millions of cells, along with valuable biological information about those cells’ form and function. 

Such single-cell resolution imaging is likely to become more common in future, however, tools able to analyse the vast amounts of information generated are largely underdeveloped. This leaves experts severely underpowered in being able to extract quantifiable information from biomedical imaging data.

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The Project

Cynthia will develop an open-source software tool that can identify and visualise cell clusters, infer cell-to-cell interactions, define the structure of each cell cluster and report the localisation of neighbouring cells. She will also publicly release a simple web-based, ‘click-and-go’ interactive tool for studying the patterns of cells in tissues – to support biologists with no knowledge of programming.

“The software and web-based tools will help biologists fully utilise their data, providing greater information from what is a largely untapped source of novel biological insight,” Cynthia says. “To date, very few tools have been produced to support the spatial analysis of cells in tissues.”

Cynthia’s work opens the way for SVI to develop imaging analysis expertise that can support researchers on the St Vincent’s campus and beyond.

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Dr Cynthia Liu

Dr Cynthia Liu’s research is focused improving statistical analysis of large and complex biological datasets – to drive in new insights about the genetic basis of health and disease.  

A postdoctoral researcher in SVI’s Bioinformatics & Cellular Genomics Laboratory, Cynthia completed her studies at The University of Melbourne, RMIT and The University of Adelaide. Cynthia is the author of 20 highly-cited publications.