Single-shot self-supervised object detection in microscopy published in Nature Communications

LodeSTAR tracks the plankton Noctiluca scintillans. (Image by the Authors of the manuscript.)
Single-shot self-supervised particle tracking
Benjamin Midtvedt, Jesús Pineda, Fredrik Skärberg, Erik Olsén, Harshith Bachimanchi, Emelie Wesén, Elin K. Esbjörner, Erik Selander, Fredrik Höök, Daniel Midtvedt, Giovanni Volpe
Nature Communications 13, 7492 (2022)
arXiv: 2202.13546
doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-35004-y

Object detection is a fundamental task in digital microscopy, where machine learning has made great strides in overcoming the limitations of classical approaches. The training of state-of-the-art machine-learning methods almost universally relies on vast amounts of labeled experimental data or the ability to numerically simulate realistic datasets. However, experimental data are often challenging to label and cannot be easily reproduced numerically. Here, we propose a deep-learning method, named LodeSTAR (Localization and detection from Symmetries, Translations And Rotations), that learns to detect microscopic objects with sub-pixel accuracy from a single unlabeled experimental image by exploiting the inherent roto-translational symmetries of this task. We demonstrate that LodeSTAR outperforms traditional methods in terms of accuracy, also when analyzing challenging experimental data containing densely packed cells or noisy backgrounds. Furthermore, by exploiting additional symmetries we show that LodeSTAR can measure other properties, e.g., vertical position and polarizability in holographic microscopy.

Label-free nanofluidic scattering microscopy of size and mass of single diffusing molecules and nanoparticles published in Nature Methods

Kymographs of DNA inside Channel II. (Image by the Authors.)
Label-free nanofluidic scattering microscopy of size and mass of single diffusing molecules and nanoparticles
Barbora Špačková, Henrik Klein Moberg, Joachim Fritzsche, Johan Tenghamn, Gustaf Sjösten, Hana Šípová-Jungová, David Albinsson, Quentin Lubart, Daniel van Leeuwen, Fredrik Westerlund, Daniel Midtvedt, Elin K. Esbjörner, Mikael Käll, Giovanni Volpe & Christoph Langhammer
Nature Methods 19, 751–758 (2022)
doi: 10.1038/s41592-022-01491-6

Label-free characterization of single biomolecules aims to complement fluorescence microscopy in situations where labeling compromises data interpretation, is technically challenging or even impossible. However, existing methods require the investigated species to bind to a surface to be visible, thereby leaving a large fraction of analytes undetected. Here, we present nanofluidic scattering microscopy (NSM), which overcomes these limitations by enabling label-free, real-time imaging of single biomolecules diffusing inside a nanofluidic channel. NSM facilitates accurate determination of molecular weight from the measured optical contrast and of the hydrodynamic radius from the measured diffusivity, from which information about the conformational state can be inferred. Furthermore, we demonstrate its applicability to the analysis of a complex biofluid, using conditioned cell culture medium containing extracellular vesicles as an example. We foresee the application of NSM to monitor conformational changes, aggregation and interactions of single biomolecules, and to analyze single-cell secretomes.