Science AMA Series: Dr. Anne Carpenter, Institute Scientist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard providing background on the 2018 Data Science Bowl and questions on cell biology, microscopy, a...

Feb 15, 2018

Hi, I’m Dr. Anne Carpenter, I lead a computational research group at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. My Ph.D. is in cell biology and my lab’s expertise is in developing and applying algorithms and software for extracting information from biological images.

My team’s open-source CellProfiler software is used by thousands of biologists worldwide, and is accelerating the discovery of new medicines. We're passionate about developing tools to speed up research and discover cures to diseases.

Nucleus detection is a very important part of this process because most of the human body’s 30 trillion cells contain a nucleus full of DNA, the genetic code that programs each cell. Identifying nuclei allows researchers to identify each individual cell in a sample, and by measuring how cells react to various treatments, the researcher can understand the underlying biological processes at work.

This year’s Data Science Bowl is challenging teams to automate the process of identifying nuclei in images, to allow for more efficient drug testing (right now it takes ~10 years for a new drug to come to market!) Check out my 5 minute video introduction to the challenge.

My team (including yours truly!) hand-annotated more than 20,000 nuclei for the data challenge - we think it was worth it to solve this challenge. My lab’s focus has been on deep learning algorithms and we’d love someone to beat our best efforts!

Thanks for caring about the intersection of computer science and biology! You can catch me anytime on Twitter, and I’m here from 12-1PM to answer your questions about the challenge, my lab’s work, and being a scientist. Ask me anything!

Thank you all for joining me today! I’m done!

There’s still plenty of time to register and compete in the 2018 Data Science Bowl focused on algorithms to spot nuclei. The winning algorithms will be released to the community. Stay connected or join the competition by visiting

You can also learn more at NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference: March 26 to 29th in San Jose, CA Booz Allen Hamilton will be hosting a Business Track focused on AI for Social Good as an Innovation Driver, Tuesday, March 27th.

Thanks again for joining!

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