Dual Encoder Attention U-Net for Nuclei Segmentation
Nuclei segmentation in whole slide images (WSIs) stained with Hematoxylin and Eosin (H&E) dye, is a key step in computational pathology which aims to automate the laborious process of manual counting and segmentation. Nuclei segmentation is a challenging problem that involves challenges such as touching nuclei resolution, small-sized nuclei, size, and shape variations. With the advent of deep learning, convolution neural networks (CNNs) have shown a powerful ability to extract effective representations from microscopic H&E images. We propose a novel dual encoder Attention U-net (DEAU) deep learning architecture and pseudo hard attention gating mechanism, to enhance the attention to target instances. We added a new secondary encoder to the attention U-net to capture the best attention for a given input. Since H captures nuclei information, we propose a stain-separated H channel as input to the secondary encoder. The role of the secondary encoder is to transform attention prior to different spatial resolutions while learning significant attention information. The proposed DEAU performance was evaluated on three publicly available H&E data sets for nuclei segmentation from different research groups. Experimental results show that our approach outperforms other attention-based approaches for nuclei segmentation.