Lens-free digital in-line holography (LDIH) is a promising microscopic tool that overcomes several drawbacks (e.g., limited field of view) of traditional lens-based microcopy. However, extensive computation is required to reconstruct object images from the complex diffraction patterns produced by LDIH. This limits LDIH utility for point-of-care applications, particularly in resource limited settings. We describe a deep transfer learning (DTL) based approach to process LDIH images in the context of cellular analyses. Specifically, we captured holograms of cells labeled with molecular-specific microbeads and trained neural networks to classify these holograms without reconstruction. Using raw holograms as input, the trained networks were able to classify individual cells according to the number of cell-bound microbeads. The DTL-based approach including a VGG19 pretrained network showed robust performance with experimental data. Combined with the developed DTL approach, LDIH could be realized as a low-cost, portable tool for point-of-care diagnostics.
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