2. Super-efficient image-based evaluation method for the optimization of animal culture medium

Super-efficient image-based evaluation method for the optimization of animal culture medium

  • Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Department of Basic Medicinal Sciences
  • Laboratory of Cell and Molecular Bioengineering
  • Division of Biosciences

Ryuji Kato [Associate Professor]


Outline of Seeds

In recent years, human cells are important biological material for various varieties, such as medical, therapeutic, pharmaceutical applications. However, the optimization of culture media has been extremely difficult since they consist of too many factors.
This technology is a computational analysis method of phase contrast microscopic images of cultured cells. By our analysis, we can quantitatively measure the morphological profile of cells under target culture media, and compare/evaluate its effectiveness, functionality, and safety by comparing cellular phenotypes. This method enables super efficient screening of functional culture media.

Novelty and originality of this research

In common cellular image analysis, destructive staining is required. However, our technology only uses non-stained label-free cellular images for their phenotypic profile. Moreover, our analysis algorithm utilizes the heterogeneity information of cellular morphologies as fingerprint profile, which is not only unique, but also effective for detecting faint changes in cells.

Application and research area for Industry collaboration

We have been applying this technology for various applications;
- Culture media design and optimization of culture protocols for regenerative medicine and stem cell science
- Effective screening for small chemical compounds for replacing animal-derived materials and protein-based factors
- Development of new culture media performance visualization method replacing the conventional evaluation based on measuring only the "cell growth"
We are welcome to collaborate with following companies;
- Company that produce cell culture media and consumables
- Company that relate to regenerative medicine or cell therapies

Key Takeaway

We are not simple "image analysis group". We have a strength of wide ability that enable to support the whole analysis from the data acquisition (cell culture) to the algorithm development as total developer.


Cell culture, culture media, image analysis, cell morphology data, optimization research, Efficiency research


  • Cell image analysis technology
  • Cell morphology informatics


  • Automated cell imaging system

Monographs, Papers and Articles

  • Sasaki H, Enomoto J, Ikeda Y, Honda H, Fukuda J, Kato R. Comparisons of cell culture medium using distribution of morphological features in microdevice., J Biosci Bioeng. 2016, 121(1), 117-23.
  • Kawai S, Sasaki H, Okada N, Kanie K, Yokoshima S, Fukuyama T, Honda H, Kato R. Morphological Evaluation of Non-labeled Cells to Detect Stimulation of Nerve Growth Factor Expression by Lyconadin B., J. Biomol. Screen. 2016, 21, 795-803.
  • Sasaki H, Matsuoka F, Yamamoto W, Kojima K, Honda H, Kato R. Image-based cell quality assessment: Modeling of cell morphology and quality for clinical cell therapy, Studies in Mechanobiology, Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials, Chapter "Computational modeling in tissue engineering", 2012, 10, 207-226.