SimSearch - New powerful tool in the work with biological microscope images

Ida-Maria Sintorn, along with her colleagues in the SimSearch project, is developing new technology for image processing of microscopic images. The focus is to make it easier, faster, and safer for researchers to extract relevant information from large amounts of data while retaining control over their own data. With VentureChallenge, Ida-Maria hopes that the work of integrating the software into microscopes can gain momentum.


Ida-Maria Sintorn is a professor at the Department of Information Technology, Uppsala University. Offering experts a tool that makes it easier to find the “needle in the haystack” when working with large amounts of image data is the driving force behind her work.


A first version of SimSearch’s analysis platform is not far away. A prototype has been published, a tool is in place, and a strategy exists for how the new tool can be integrated into research.


– The method we are developing makes it easier and faster to find what you are looking for in large amounts of data. The solution also means an increased ability to limit image capture and, at an earlier stage than now, focus on what is interesting. It is a powerful tool that strengthens the individual researcher’s ability to retain control and ownership of their own analysis. A tool that we hope will be integrated and become a part of the microscopes used today and a natural part of future microscopes.


Powerful tool integrated into the microscope

Being able to analyze data where it is generated allows for better utilization of microscopes. By integrating SimSearch’s tool into the microscope, it becomes possible to detect what is interesting earlier and faster, focus on that information, and work with images that are truly relevant.

– We hope that the technology we are developing becomes a powerful tool that enhances the microscope’s ability to provide users with better information. Our focus is to contribute to image analysis of microscopic images in various areas, such as diagnostic work, disease research, and especially in testing new drugs where researchers need to see and understand how cells function and react. But also in other areas.



SimSearch accepting innovation priceProfessor Ida-Maria Sintorn, together with Dr. Ankit Gupta and Professor Carolina Wählby, also received UU Innovation’s award for an attractive innovation project


VentureChallenge provides an opportunity to boost the work

Ida-Maria possesses a strong drive and a desire to contribute to making research valuable. For her, VentureChallenge is a great opportunity to receive support and assistance in the work required to take the tool all the way. Being one of the first three projects to be part of VentureChallenge, she believes, is inspiring, and the timing is perfect – Ankit Gupta, the doctoral student who is the technical star behind SimSearch, is defending his thesis these days.


Collaboration with the business sector in focus

I am passionate about advancing research and collaborating with the industry. For us, VentureChallenge is fantastic support and a great help to get started. My research profile has a strong element of eagerness to collaborate with the business sector. I also know how challenging it can be and how much there is to learn. It’s exciting to see the potential that research holds. Doing everything alone is impossible. Good collaborations are needed. VentureChallenge is one such opportunity.


Driving force to solve problems

For Ida-Maria, the driving force and inspiration in advancing research lie in finding solutions where they are lacking. As she sees it, there is much excellent research, but the leap is often significant when it comes to taking it further and applying it. Ida-Maria’s focus is on identifying and attempting to apply research where a puzzle piece is missing, where the gap exists. Working with many young and smart doctoral students is also seen by her as a boost in her own work.


– If, for example, I can contribute to Ankit’s development as a researcher and innovator, I believe it can provide significant benefits to society in the future. That brings me joy and inspiration.

Similarly, Ida-Maria sees the work with Uppsala University Invest as a great opportunity to boost the work forward.


– We need help to learn more about how to advance research, find out what is required, and overcome the challenges we face. Collaboration is a significant support for us, and if I were to describe what we hope to gain in two words, it is help and money. Getting money and assistance in learning how to do things, combined with a great opportunity to expand our network, to put it a bit loosely – to get even more help and, ultimately, more money in the form of investments in the company.


Integrated into microscopes in 5 years

Looking ahead in time, the answer to the question of where SimSearch will be in 5 years, what it has achieved, and where it stands comes from Ida-Maria.


– It’s challenging to predict and determine whether 5 years is a long time or a short time in the development work we have ahead of us. My experience is that time passes very quickly, and so much can happen both in the project and in the world along the way. But I hope that in 5 years, we are collaborating with leading microscope manufacturers providing equipment to both academia and industry, that our software is integrated into microscopes from the start, and that it powerfully facilitates and streamlines the work with biological microscope images.


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