FlyLimbTracker is  a method that uses active contours to semi-automatically track body and leg segments from video image sequences of unmarked, freely behaving Drosophila flies. This approach can be used to measure leg segment motions during a variety of locomotor and grooming behaviors.

For now the plugin have to be downlaoded directly from the EPFL website (see link), not from the search bar as usual in ICY.


Drosophila track legs



The invention comprises a software tool, NeuronMetrics, which functions as a set of modules that run in the open-source program ImageJ. NeuronMetrics features a novel method for estimating neural “branch number” (a measure of the axonal complexity) from two-dimensional images. In addition, the tool features a novel method for modeling neural structure in large “gaps” that result from image artifacts.


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Neural Circuit Tracer


Neural Circuit Tracer (NCTracer) is open source software for automated and manual tracing of neurites from light microscopy stacks of images. NCTracer has more than one workflow available for neuron tracing. 

"The Neural Circuit Tracer is open source software built using Java (Sun Microsystems) and Matlab (MathWorks, Inc., Natick MA). It is based on the core of ImageJ ( and the graphic user interface has been developed by using Java Swings. The software combines anumber of functionalities of ImageJ with several newly developed functions for automated and manual tracing of neurites. The Neural Circuit Tracer is designed in a way
that will allow the users to add any plug-ins developed for ImageJ. More importantly, functions written in MatLab and converted into Java with Matlab JA toolbox can also be added to the Neural Circuit Tracer." 

Example of output from Neural Circuit Tracer

APP (All-path pruning)


"We have developed an automatic graph algorithm, called the all-path pruning (APP), to trace the 3D structure of a neuron. To avoid potential mis-tracing of some parts of a neuron, an APP first produces an initial over-reconstruction, by tracing the optimal geodesic shortest path from the seed location to every possible destination voxel/pixel location in the image. Since the initial reconstruction contains all the possible paths and thus could contain redundant structural components (SC), we simplify the entire reconstruction without compromising its connectedness by pruning the redundant structural elements, using a new maximal- covering minimal-redundant (MCMR) subgraph algorithm. We show that MCMR has a linear computational complexity and will converge. We examined the performance of our method using challenging 3D neuronal image datasets of model organisms (e.g. fruit fly)"

This plugin can be used with default parameters or user-defined parameters.


Object Tracking and Metadata Management


The goal of this workflow is to track cells captured in a time-lapse movie of a syncytial blastoderm stage Drosophila embryo and quantify their movement.

This example shows an example of object tracking. This pipeline analyzes a time-lapse experiment to identify the cells and track them from frame to frame, which is challenging since the cells are also moving. In addition, this pipeline also extracts metadata from the filename and uses groups the images by metadata in order to independently process several sequences of images and output the measurements of each.

Sample images

A portion of a time lapse movie of a syncytial blastoderm stage Drosophila embryo with a GFP-histone gene which renders chromatin fluorescent in live embryos. The movie shows nuclear divisions 10 through 13.

Victoria Foe made this movie on a Bio-Rad Radiance 2000 laser scanning confocal microscope using a 40X 1.3NA oil objective. The frames are 7 seconds apart and plays at 30 frames per second

GFP-histone transformed files provided by Rob Saint

V.Foe and G.Odell, . 26 July 2001

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