Deep Model Based Transfer and Multi-Task Learning for Biological Image Analysis. Academic Article uri icon


  • A central theme in learning from image data is to develop appropriate representations for the specific task at hand. Thus, a practical challenge is to determine what features are appropriate for specific tasks. For example, in the study of gene expression patterns in Drosophila, texture features were particularly effective for determining the developmental stages from in situ hybridization images. Such image representation is however not suitable for controlled vocabulary term annotation. Here, we developed feature extraction methods to generate hierarchical representations for ISH images. Our approach is based on the deep convolutional neural networks that can act on image pixels directly. To make the extracted features generic, the models were trained using a natural image set with millions of labeled examples. These models were transferred to the ISH image domain. To account for the differences between the source and target domains, we proposed a partial transfer learning scheme in which only part of the source model is transferred. We employed multi-task learning method to fine-tune the pre-trained models with labeled ISH images. Results showed that feature representations computed by deep models based on transfer and multi-task learning significantly outperformed other methods for annotating gene expression patterns at different stage ranges.

published proceedings

  • IEEE Trans Big Data

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, W., Li, R., Zeng, T., Sun, Q., Kumar, S., Ye, J., & Ji, S.

citation count

  • 81

publication date

  • June 2020