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Turaga Lab / Publications
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24 Publications

Showing 1-10 of 24 results
10/18/18 | In toto imaging and reconstruction of post-implantation mouse development at the single-cell level.
McDole K, Guignard L, Amat F, Berger A, Malandain G, Royer LA, Turaga SC, Branson K, Keller PJ
Cell. 2018 Oct 10;175(3):859-876. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.09.031

The mouse embryo has long been central to the study of mammalian development; however, elucidating the cell behaviors governing gastrulation and the formation of tissues and organs remains a fundamental challenge. A major obstacle is the lack of live imaging and image analysis technologies capable of systematically following cellular dynamics across the developing embryo. We developed a light-sheet microscope that adapts itself to the dramatic changes in size, shape, and optical properties of the post-implantation mouse embryo and captures its development from gastrulation to early organogenesis at the cellular level. We furthermore developed a computational framework for reconstructing long-term cell tracks, cell divisions, dynamic fate maps, and maps of tissue morphogenesis across the entire embryo. By jointly analyzing cellular dynamics in multiple embryos registered in space and time, we built a dynamic atlas of post-implantation mouse development that, together with our microscopy and computational methods, is provided as a resource.

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06/21/18 | Synaptic partner prediction from point annotations in insect brains.
Buhmann J, Krause R, Lentini RC, Eckstein N, Cook M, Turaga SC, Funke J
arXiv. 2018 Jun 21:1806.08205

High-throughput electron microscopy allows recording of lar- ge stacks of neural tissue with sufficient resolution to extract the wiring diagram of the underlying neural network. Current efforts to automate this process focus mainly on the segmentation of neurons. However, in order to recover a wiring diagram, synaptic partners need to be identi- fied as well. This is especially challenging in insect brains like Drosophila melanogaster, where one presynaptic site is associated with multiple post- synaptic elements. Here we propose a 3D U-Net architecture to directly identify pairs of voxels that are pre- and postsynaptic to each other. To that end, we formulate the problem of synaptic partner identification as a classification problem on long-range edges between voxels to encode both the presence of a synaptic pair and its direction. This formulation allows us to directly learn from synaptic point annotations instead of more ex- pensive voxel-based synaptic cleft or vesicle annotations. We evaluate our method on the MICCAI 2016 CREMI challenge and improve over the current state of the art, producing 3% fewer errors than the next best method.

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06/12/18 | A connectome based hexagonal lattice convolutional network model of the Drosophila visual system.
Tschopp FD, Reiser MB, Turaga SC
arXiv. 2018 Jun 12:1806.04793

What can we learn from a connectome? We constructed a simplified model of the first two stages of the fly visual system, the lamina and medulla. The resulting hexagonal lattice convolutional network was trained using backpropagation through time to perform object tracking in natural scene videos. Networks initialized with weights from connectome reconstructions automatically discovered well-known orientation and direction selectivity properties in T4 neurons and their inputs, while networks initialized at random did not. Our work is the first demonstration, that knowledge of the connectome can enable in silico predictions of the functional properties of individual neurons in a circuit, leading to an understanding of circuit function from structure alone.

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05/28/18 | Discrete flow posteriors for variational inference in discrete dynamical systems.
Aitchison L, Adam V, Turaga SC
arXiv. 2018 May 28:1805.10958

Each training step for a variational autoencoder (VAE) requires us to sample from the approximate posterior, so we usually choose simple (e.g. factorised) approximate posteriors in which sampling is an efficient computation that fully exploits GPU parallelism. However, such simple approximate posteriors are often insufficient, as they eliminate statistical dependencies in the posterior. While it is possible to use normalizing flow approximate posteriors for continuous latents, some problems have discrete latents and strong statistical dependencies. The most natural approach to model these dependencies is an autoregressive distribution, but sampling from such distributions is inherently sequential and thus slow. We develop a fast, parallel sampling procedure for autoregressive distributions based on fixed-point iterations which enables efficient and accurate variational inference in discrete state-space latent variable dynamical systems. To optimize the variational bound, we considered two ways to evaluate probabilities: inserting the relaxed samples directly into the pmf for the discrete distribution, or converting to continuous logistic latent variables and interpreting the K-step fixed-point iterations as a normalizing flow. We found that converting to continuous latent variables gave considerable additional scope for mismatch between the true and approximate posteriors, which resulted in biased inferences, we thus used the former approach. Using our fast sampling procedure, we were able to realize the benefits of correlated posteriors, including accurate uncertainty estimates for one cell, and accurate connectivity estimates for multiple cells, in an order of magnitude less time.

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05/24/18 | Large scale image segmentation with structured loss based deep learning for connectome reconstruction..
Funke J, Tschopp FD, Grisaitis W, Sheridan A, Singh C, Saalfeld S, Turaga SC
IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence. 2018 May 24:. doi: 10.1109/TPAMI.2018.2835450

We present a method combining affinity prediction with region agglomeration, which improves significantly upon the state of the art of neuron segmentation from electron microscopy (EM) in accuracy and scalability. Our method consists of a 3D U-net, trained to predict affinities between voxels, followed by iterative region agglomeration. We train using a structured loss based on MALIS, encouraging topologically correct segmentations obtained from affinity thresholding. Our extension consists of two parts: First, we present a quasi-linear method to compute the loss gradient, improving over the original quadratic algorithm. Second, we compute the gradient in two separate passes to avoid spurious gradient contributions in early training stages. Our predictions are accurate enough that simple learning-free percentile-based agglomeration outperforms more involved methods used earlier on inferior predictions. We present results on three diverse EM datasets, achieving relative improvements over previous results of 27%, 15%, and 250%. Our findings suggest that a single method can be applied to both nearly isotropic block-face EM data and anisotropic serial sectioned EM data. The runtime of our method scales linearly with the size of the volume and achieves a throughput of ~2.6 seconds per megavoxel, qualifying our method for the processing of very large datasets.

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05/21/18 | Community-based benchmarking improves spike inference from two-photon calcium imaging data.
Berens P, Freeman J, Deneux T, Chenkov N, McColgan T, Speiser A, Macke JH, Turaga SC, Mineault P, Rupprecht P, Gerhard S, Friedrich RW, Friedrich J, Paninski L, Pachitariu M, Harris KD, Bolte B, Machado TA, Ringach D, etal
PLoS Computational Biology. 2018 May 21;14(5):e1006157. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006157

In recent years, two-photon calcium imaging has become a standard tool to probe the function of neural circuits and to study computations in neuronal populations. However, the acquired signal is only an indirect measurement of neural activity due to the comparatively slow dynamics of fluorescent calcium indicators. Different algorithms for estimating spike rates from noisy calcium measurements have been proposed in the past, but it is an open question how far performance can be improved. Here, we report the results of the spikefinder challenge, launched to catalyze the development of new spike rate inference algorithms through crowd-sourcing. We present ten of the submitted algorithms which show improved performance compared to previously evaluated methods. Interestingly, the top-performing algorithms are based on a wide range of principles from deep neural networks to generative models, yet provide highly correlated estimates of the neural activity. The competition shows that benchmark challenges can drive algorithmic developments in neuroscience.

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04/04/18 | Opportunities and obstacles for deep learning in biology and medicine.
Ching T, Himmelstein DS, Beaulieu-Jones BK, Kalinin AA, Do BT, Way GP, Ferrero E, Agapow P, Zietz M, Hoffman MM, Xie W, Rosen GL, Lengerich BJ, Israeli J, Lanchantin J, Woloszynek S, Carpenter AE, Shrikumar A, Xu J, Cofer EM
Journal of The Royal Society Interface. 2018 Apr 4:. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2017.0387

Deep learning describes a class of machine learning algorithms that are capable of combining raw inputs into layers of intermediate features. These algorithms have recently shown impressive results across a variety of domains. Biology and medicine are data-rich disciplines, but the data are complex and often ill-understood. Hence, deep learning techniques may be particularly well suited to solve problems of these fields. We examine applications of deep learning to a variety of biomedical problems—patient classification, fundamental biological processes and treatment of patients—and discuss whether deep learning will be able to transform these tasks or if the biomedical sphere poses unique challenges. Following from an extensive literature review, we find that deep learning has yet to revolutionize biomedicine or definitively resolve any of the most pressing challenges in the field, but promising advances have been made on the prior state of the art. Even though improvements over previous baselines have been modest in general, the recent progress indicates that deep learning methods will provide valuable means for speeding up or aiding human investigation. Though progress has been made linking a specific neural network's prediction to input features, understanding how users should interpret these models to make testable hypotheses about the system under study remains an open challenge. Furthermore, the limited amount of labelled data for training presents problems in some domains, as do legal and privacy constraints on work with sensitive health records. Nonetheless, we foresee deep learning enabling changes at both bench and bedside with the potential to transform several areas of biology and medicine.

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12/04/17 | Extracting low-dimensional dynamics from multiple large-scale neural population recordings by learning to predict correlations.
Nonnenmacher M, Turaga SC, Macke JH
31st Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS 2017). 2017 Dec 04:

A powerful approach for understanding neural population dynamics is to extract low-dimensional trajectories from population recordings using dimensionality reduction methods. Current approaches for dimensionality reduction on neural data are limited to single population recordings, and can not identify dynamics embedded across multiple measurements. We propose an approach for extracting low-dimensional dynamics from multiple, sequential recordings. Our algorithm scales to data comprising millions of observed dimensions, making it possible to access dynamics distributed across large populations or multiple brain areas. Building on subspace-identification approaches for dynamical systems, we perform parameter estimation by minimizing a moment-matching objective using a scalable stochastic gradient descent algorithm: The model is optimized to predict temporal covariations across neurons and across time. We show how this approach naturally handles missing data and multiple partial recordings, and can identify dynamics and predict correlations even in the presence of severe subsampling and small overlap between recordings. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the approach both on simulated data and a whole-brain larval zebrafish imaging dataset. 

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12/04/17 | Fast amortized inference of neural activity from calcium imaging data with variational autoencoders.
Speiser A, Yan J, Archer E, Buesing L, Turaga SC, Macke JH
Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS 2017). 2017 Dec 04:

Calcium imaging permits optical measurement of neural activity. Since intracellular calcium concentration is an indirect measurement of neural activity, computational tools are necessary to infer the true underlying spiking activity from fluorescence measurements. Bayesian model inversion can be used to solve this problem, but typically requires either computationally expensive MCMC sampling, or faster but approximate maximum-a-posteriori optimization. Here, we introduce a flexible algorithmic framework for fast, efficient and accurate extraction of neural spikes from imaging data. Using the framework of variational autoencoders, we propose to amortize inference by training a deep neural network to perform model inversion efficiently. The recognition network is trained to produce samples from the posterior distribution over spike trains. Once trained, performing inference amounts to a fast single forward pass through the network, without the need for iterative optimization or sampling. We show that amortization can be applied flexibly to a wide range of nonlinear generative models and significantly improves upon the state of the art in computation time, while achieving competitive accuracy. Our framework is also able to represent posterior distributions over spike-trains. We demonstrate the generality of our method by proposing the first probabilistic approach for separating backpropagating action potentials from putative synaptic inputs in calcium imaging of dendritic spines. 

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12/04/17 | Model-based Bayesian inference of neural activity and connectivity from all-optical interrogation of a neural circuit.
Aitchison L, Russell L, Packer AM, Yan J, Castonguaye P, Häusser M, Turaga SC
31st Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS 2017). 2017 Dec 04:

Population activity measurement by calcium imaging can be combined with cellular resolution optogenetic activity perturbations to enable the mapping of neural connectivity in vivo. This requires accurate inference of perturbed and unperturbed neural activity from calcium imaging measurements, which are noisy and indirect, and can also be contaminated by photostimulation artifacts. We have developed a new fully Bayesian approach to jointly inferring spiking activity and neural connectivity from in vivo all-optical perturbation experiments. In contrast to standard approaches that perform spike inference and analysis in two separate maximum-likelihood phases, our joint model is able to propagate uncertainty in spike inference to the inference of connectivity and vice versa. We use the framework of variational autoencoders to model spiking activity using discrete latent variables, low-dimensional latent common input, and sparse spike-and-slab generalized linear coupling between neurons. Additionally, we model two properties of the optogenetic perturbation: off-target photostimulation and photostimulation transients. Our joint model includes at least two sets of discrete random variables; to avoid the dramatic slowdown typically caused by being unable to differentiate such variables, we introduce two strategies that have not, to our knowledge, been used with variational autoencoders. Using this model, we were able to fit models on 30 minutes of data in just 10 minutes. We performed an all-optical circuit mapping experiment in primary visual cortex of the awake mouse, and use our approach to predict neural connectivity between excitatory neurons in layer 2/3. Predicted connectivity is sparse and consistent with known correlations with stimulus tuning, spontaneous correlation and distance.

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