The Ultimate Tool for Biomedical Research: Developing Light Microscopy Techniques with Mathematica

Daniel Zicha, Head of Light Microscopy, Cancer Research UK

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The Mathematica Edge
    • Facilitates effective exploration of data and mathematical models using powerful visualization capabilities
    • Combines rule-based, object-oriented and algorithmic programming principles in one prototyping tool
    • Provides single container for research data, scientific simulations and typeset text ready for publication with the Computable Document Format (CDF)
"The powerful visualization in combination with the easy access to interactive tools turn Mathematica into an efficient, powerful tool for biomedical research."


As head of light microscopy at Cancer Research UK, Daniel Zicha is involved in the development of light microscopy techniques as well as collaborative research in applications of image processing and analysis methods. Making progress in these areas required finding one environment that supports rapid prototyping, qualitative analysis and visualization capabilities.


Zicha calls Mathematica the ultimate tool for biomedical research because it's "quick to develop and then quick to test and visualize the results conveniently and interactively."

Within his collaborative research work in the area of metastasis, Zicha's use of Mathematica to visualize and qualitatively analyze cell morphology led to the discovery of a novel metastasis suppressor. About the advantages his team gained from using Mathematica in the project, Zicha says, "They can load the data, check the data, analyze the data and provide the final presentation of the results in a graphical way, which basically go directly to publication."

The introduction of Mathematica's Computable Document Format (CDF) further simplifies Zicha's research workflow. "It's extremely difficult for us to present our findings if we are restricted to PDF, which can only show static images and the CDF just changes that instantly," says Zicha.


With its combination of rule-based, object-oriented and algorithmic programming principles, Mathematica is the fastest way for Zicha to test ideas without a lengthy time investment. In addition, the powerful visualization and dynamic capabilities as well as the ability to author interactive articles with CDF make Mathematica extremely efficient for exploring data and mathematical models and for publishing his findings.

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