Effective pseudo-labeling based on heatmap for unsupervised domain adaptation in cell detection

Hyeonwoo Cho, Kazuya Nishimura, Kazuhide Watanabe, Ryoma Bise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cell detection is an important task in biomedical research. Recently, deep learning methods have made it possible to improve the performance of cell detection. However, a detection network trained with training data under a specific condition (source domain) may not work well on data under other conditions (target domains), which is called the domain shift problem. In particular, cells are cultured under different conditions depending on the purpose of the research. Characteristics, e.g., the shapes and density of the cells, change depending on the conditions, and such changes may cause domain shift problems. Here, we propose an unsupervised domain adaptation method for cell detection using a pseudo-cell-position heatmap, where the cell centroid is at the peak of a Gaussian distribution in the map and selective pseudo-labeling. In the prediction result for the target domain, even if the peak location is correct, the signal distribution around the peak often has a non-Gaussian shape. The pseudo-cell-position heatmap is thus re-generated using the peak positions in the predicted heatmap to have a clear Gaussian shape. Our method selects confident pseudo-cell-position heatmaps based on uncertainty and curriculum learning. We conducted numerous experiments showing that, compared with the existing methods, our method improved detection performance under different conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102436
JournalMedical Image Analysis
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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