• Recognition and comprehension.

    Recognition and comprehension.

    Image processing as an opportunity for industry.

Software in medical-biological research

We deal with medical-biological research. Therefore, it is important for us to employ people in these areas who bring this expertise from their studies, and professional life and combine it with the knowledge of computer science.

Here are some of the topics we deal with.

Biotechnology

Bios - life, techne - art, logos - teaching. Biotechnology as a collective term for the science of the processes surrounding living matter encompasses an expansive spectrum of topics, methods, and organisms.

Not only biology itself, but also the findings and achievements from physics, chemistry, process engineering, material sciences and, increasingly, computer science contribute their share to biotechnological developments.

These concern the manipulation of bacteria, of cells from plants, fungi and from animal tissue, but also of viruses (as a non-living group). The totality of all the genes of an organism (the genome), the totality of all its proteins (the proteome), and the totality of all its transcripts (the transcriptome), with their functions and interactions, are the object of study and the anchor point for the generation and improvement of products intended to serve the advancement of human welfare and sustainability.

From its beginnings, such as the fermentation of foods and stimulants, to milestones, such as the production of antibiotics or the deciphering of the genetic code, to state-of-the-art gene sequencing techniques in concert with bioinformatics algorithms, the development of biotechnology has taken a wide variety of directions. The three main areas are agriculture (green biotechnology), industry (white biotechnology) and medicine (red biotechnology).
In agriculture, the controversial genetic modification of crops is the central issue. Optimizing yields by breeding resistant and high-quality varieties is expected to help solve the world's food problem.

The biotechnology industry uses the enzymatic activity of microorganisms to produce food, textiles, paper, cosmetics, cleaning agents and other chemicals.

The biotechnology industry is expanding, particularly in medicine. Understanding the biochemical processes in human cells and the role of DNA helps in the genesis of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures to combat cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, neurodegeneration, viral infections and other diseases.

The cell

Cells are living, self-contained entities equipped with specific structures and functions for self-preservation, maintenance of other cells, or other functions.
Some cells act individually, for example, as a single-celled bacterium, and contain everything they need to survive. Other cells interact with neighboring cells in cell assemblies, tissues, and organs, forming an entire organism. The human body, for example, consists of several trillion cells, which are highly specialized and interact in a complex manner to maintain human bodily functions.

Cells have similarities and differences to each other. They have a bounding envelope, the cell membrane. Plants and fungi have a cell wall. Inside, the cell organelles, the "organs" of the cell, are located in the cell fluid, the cytoplasm. Intermediate filaments and microtubules support and stabilize the cell as the cytoskeleton. Cell organelles may be mitochondria, for example, which provide energy. Plant cells have chloroplasts in which they generate energy with the help of light. Lysosomes contain digestive enzymes. The Golgi apparatus modifies and transports proteins. In addition, some cells contain a cell nucleus. The nucleus contains DNA, which is used to control processes in the cell and to pass on information to descendant cells. In order to obtain many cells of one type, these are cultivated in a nutrient medium in the laboratory. Under finely tuned conditions, the cells of a cell line multiply in the cell culture.

The Genetic Code

The double-stranded giant molecule deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) contained in the cell nucleus is coiled into chromosomes to save space. It is a polynucleotide composed of many individual nucleotides. The nucleotides facing each other in a double strand are connected by hydrogen bonds. A nucleotide consists of a phosphate, the sugar deoxyribose and one of the four bases: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C) and thymine (T). A section of these sequentially arranged nucleotides forms a gene. The cell has enzymes that recognize which bases are present in these sequences. The order of bases A, G, C, and T within this gene determines what will be produced next. These products are proteins that serve as building blocks of the body, or are sent as signals to other cells. It is not only the cell itself which is able to retrieve its genetic information. For a few years now, it has been possible to read out nucleotide sequences in the laboratory and then evaluate them. These procedures are called “DNA sequencing”, or “DNA analysis”.

Single cell genomics

The advent of single-cell genomics represents a revolution for cancer research and pedigree research. Whereas genes could previously only be analyzed as a cross-section of information on cell assemblies, the observation of the genome of a single cell enables the unambiguous assignment of a measured signal to a specific cell type or to an individual.

This opens up special possibilities in medical research. Identifying the genetic characteristics of tumor cells, for example, enables scientists to develop and target drugs against a specific type of cancer. Cells that have been identified as diseased can be used as a specific target, while healthy cells can be spared.

During this process, DNA is extracted from individual cells, amplified and the genome is reconstructed using bioinformatics methods. In the past, the extraction of single viable cells represented the “bottleneck” of this process. Recently, so-called “cell printers”, for example, have been able to accomplish this difficult task with the aid of the appropriate software. Image recognition algorithms play the important role of identifying individual cells, as well as cells with certain characteristics or laboratory-labeled cells in a solution prior to their isolation.

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