Digital microscopy, the integration of digital and microscopy technologies, was initiated for quantitative microscopic image analysis, but it is now for almost all microscopy applications. During the past decade, with the advance of digital technologies, digital microscopy imaging is becoming an indispensable technology in drug discovery.
We started establishing state-of-the-art digital microscopy imaging for drug discovery with the investigation of bioimaging applications at our US research site. Our results shown that all the top 5 bioimaging needs require computer-aided microscopy. Based on this investigation and our review of the microscopy imaging applications in the pharmaceutical industry, we determined four directions for microscopy in drug discovery: multidimensional/multimodal microscopy, digitalization, automation, and bioimage informatics.
Multidimensional/multimodal microscopy imaging is required by the nature of biological research, which is fundamental in drug discovery. From genomic imaging to pathology observation, we require biological details and compound activities at the levels from subcellular organelles to organ tissues, from cellular signaling to anatomical locations of compounds.