Phaedra, a protocol-driven system for analysis and validation of high-content imaging and flow cytometry

J Biomol Screen. 2012 Apr;17(4):496-506. doi: 10.1177/1087057111432885. Epub 2012 Jan 10.


High-content screening has brought new dimensions to cellular assays by generating rich data sets that characterize cell populations in great detail and detect subtle phenotypes. To derive relevant, reliable conclusions from these complex data, it is crucial to have informatics tools supporting quality control, data reduction, and data mining. These tools must reconcile the complexity of advanced analysis methods with the user-friendliness demanded by the user community. After review of existing applications, we realized the possibility of adding innovative new analysis options. Phaedra was developed to support workflows for drug screening and target discovery, interact with several laboratory information management systems, and process data generated by a range of techniques including high-content imaging, multicolor flow cytometry, and traditional high-throughput screening assays. The application is modular and flexible, with an interface that can be tuned to specific user roles. It offers user-friendly data visualization and reduction tools for HCS but also integrates Matlab for custom image analysis and the Konstanz Information Miner (KNIME) framework for data mining. Phaedra features efficient JPEG2000 compression and full drill-down functionality from dose-response curves down to individual cells, with exclusion and annotation options, cell classification, statistical quality controls, and reporting.

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Electronic Data Processing
  • Flow Cytometry*
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Internet
  • Software*
  • User-Computer Interface