PLoS ONE 11 (3) e0151554 [2016-03-17; online 2016-03-17]
Image-based screening typically produces quantitative measurements of cell appearance. Large-scale screens involving tens of thousands of images, each containing hundreds of cells described by hundreds of measurements, result in overwhelming amounts of data. Reducing per-cell measurements to the averages across the image(s) for each treatment leads to loss of potentially valuable information on population variability. We present PopulationProfiler-a new software tool that reduces per-cell measurements to population statistics. The software imports measurements from a simple text file, visualizes population distributions in a compact and comprehensive way, and can create gates for subpopulation classes based on control samples. We validate the tool by showing how PopulationProfiler can be used to analyze the effect of drugs that disturb the cell cycle, and compare the results to those obtained with flow cytometry.