PHILADELPHIA–At the recent "Chips to Hits" conference (October 27-31) dedicated to high-throughput systems analysis and drug development, Ilya Goldberg of the US National Institute on Aging (NIA) presented an optimistic update on the international effort to standardize imaging data, known as the Open Microscopy Environment (OME). The OME creators are undertaking the technical challenge of converting the traditionally qualitative investigatory process of microscopy into a quantitative one — translating images into numbers to produce a biological result.

The project is the image-data equivalent of the MIAME standard used by many research groups for the purpose of harmonizing microarray data, and recently adopted by several research journals. "We are where MIAME was two to three years ago," explained Goldberg, adding that OMEv2.0 is scheduled for release later this year.

Industry reviews of OME in the Chips to Hits exhibit hall ranged from enthusiastic praise to pragmatism. "We wanted it yesterday,"...

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