Scalable High-Performance Image Registration Framework by Unsupervised Deep Feature Representations Learning

Guorong Wu, Minjeong Kim, Qian Wang, Brent C. Munsell, Dinggang Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

182 Citations (Scopus)


Feature selection is a critical step in deformable image registration. In particular, selecting the most discriminative features that accurately and concisely describe complex morphological patterns in image patches improves correspondence detection, which in turn improves image registration accuracy. Furthermore, since more and more imaging modalities are being invented to better identify morphological changes in medical imaging data, the development of deformable image registration method that scales well to new image modalities or new image applications with little to no human intervention would have a significant impact on the medical image analysis community. To address these concerns, a learning-based image registration framework is proposed that uses deep learning to discover compact and highly discriminative features upon observed imaging data. Specifically, the proposed feature selection method uses a convolutional stacked autoencoder to identify intrinsic deep feature representations in image patches. Since deep learning is an unsupervised learning method, no ground truth label knowledge is required. This makes the proposed feature selection method more flexible to new imaging modalities since feature representations can be directly learned from the observed imaging data in a very short amount of time. Using the Loni and ADNI imaging datasets, image registration performance was compared to two existing state-of-the-art deformable image registration methods that use handcrafted features. To demonstrate the scalability of the proposed image registration framework, image registration experiments were conducted on 7.0-T brain MR images. In all experiments, the results showed that the new image registration framework consistently demonstrated more accurate registration results when compared to state of the art.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7314894
Pages (from-to)1505-1516
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul


  • Deformable image registration
  • Hierarchical feature representation
  • deep learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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