Sal Baker, Ph.D.

Associate Professor



Ca2+ Imaging Analysis:

Intracellular Ca2+ signals occur in nearly all cells, and mediate a myriad of functions such as cell proliferation, secretion, fertilization, and muscle contraction. To investigate these phenomena, Ca2+ signals are commonly recorded by using either traditional Ca2+ dyes or genetically encoded Ca2+ indicators. However, intracellular Ca2+ signals encode specific responses via complex spatial and temporal patterns including localized oscillations and cell-wide waves, which can be arduous to decipher manually. Therefore, we aim to dramatically enhance current methods of Ca2+ event detection and analysis. Thus far, we have developed an automated algorithmic solution to the analysis of Ca2+ signal dynamics and have incorporated a machine learning approach into Ca2+ Spatio-Temporal Map analysis.

We developed a Spatio-Temporal Map analysis plugin (STMapAuto) that is fully compatible with Fiji/Image J. This plugin allows for automatic extraction of key Ca2+ event information such as: frequency, propagation velocity, intensity, area, and spatial spread. The developed analysis methods will dramatically reduce opportunities for user error and will provide a fast, standardized and accurate analysis to allow for high throughput analysis of multiple datasets.