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Anne Carpenter: Her Machine Learning Tools Pull Insights from Cell Images

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Computational biologist Anne Carpenter

Anne Carpenter is a pioneer in the development of the automated machine-learning, image-based profiling tools that enable biomedical researchers to classify thousands of cells in microscopy images.

Credit: Bearwalk Cinema

Computational biologist Anne Carpenter is senior director of the Imaging Platform of the Broad Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.

Anne Carpenter developed the widely used open source software, CellProfiler, which researchers use to measure phenotypes (sets of observable traits) from cell images. It has been cited in more than 12,000 publications since its release in 2005.

In an interview, Carpenter talks about the joy of translating messy biology into computationally solvable problems; an ambitious effort to screen drugs for 200 diseases in a single well; and how researchers who are humble, curious, and able to communicate with people outside their discipline can create a culture that improves the diversity of computational biology and machine learning.

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