Imperial College London

Department of Mathematics and Division of Molecular Biosciences


Statistical Analysis of Biological Spatial Point Patterns

Confocal microscopic image of Promyelocytic Leukemia (PML) in a human cell nucleus.

PMLs stained blue.


These pages describe work carried out at Imperial College on the statistical analysis of spatial point patterns (SPPs) that arise in the imaging of mammalian cell nuclei.  The observed point patterns correspond to the locations of nuclear domains collected using confocal microscopy.

The specific biological objective is to understand positional and functional nuclear organization, that is, how the different domains and compartments colocalize spatially, as it is believed that this gives an insight into biological function and interaction.

We have specifically focussed on the investigation of the Promyelocytic Leukemia (PML) body nuclear domain (see also here), and the related domain CREB Binding Protein (CBP) foci, and their spatial relation to genomic and other loci.

Different aspects of the analysis problem are described in the following sections:

  • Biological Background
  • Confocal Microscopy Imaging
  • Statistical Analysis Methods
  • Glossary
  • References

    People involved in the work:


    Research Director
    Statistical Analysis
    • Dr Suhail Islam (Division of Molecular Biosciences)
    Image Analysis and Computation
    • Dr Carol Shiels
    Sample Generation and Image Analysis  
    Statistical Analysis


    PhD Students

    • Elizabeth Batty
     Project Title:  Spatial Organisation of the Mammalian Interphase Nucleus BBSRC studentship
    • Richard Russell
      MRC 4-Year Capacity Building studentship
    • Philip Umande
     Project Title:  Statistical Modelling of Biological Spatial Point Patterns EPSRC DTA Studentship


    • Professor Michael Hendzel
    Department of Oncology, University of Alberta  
    • Dr Kirk McManus



    Some PML Images

  • Here

  • Computation

    Other Material

  • Slides for a talk given in the Biomathematics Working Group seminar series, Department of Mathematics

  • The transcriptional regulator CBP has defined spatial associations within interphase nuclei A version of a paper under submission.



    Funding: Studentships provided by UK Research councils EPSRC, MRC, BBSRC

    This page created by David Stephens; all content Imperial College 2006.