Digital pathology


DIAPath (Digital Image Analysis in Pathology) is a platform oriented towards the validation of tissue-based biomarkers using standardized immunohistochemistry (IHC) and slide digitalization processes. It proposes services that range from sample preparation to image and data analysis:

  • Cell and tissue processing (fixation, paraffin embedding)
  • Tissue microarray production
  • Slide sectioning and automated staining (H&E, PAS, Masson trichrome, …)
  • Standardized immunohistochemistry (IHC), sequential IHC, chromogenic in situ hybridization (CISH) (Complementary information)
  • Whole slide high-resolution imaging
  • Qualitative and semi-quantitative scoring by experts (double blind test)
  • Quantitative image analysis (morphometry, staining characterization, …) (Complementary information)
  • Tissue-based biomarker colocalization (Complementary information)
  • Data analysis and reporting


  1. Customized services related to pathology, histology and IHC
  2. Imaging and digital pathology: macro/microscopy imaging, whole slide scanning, customized image analysis
  3. Screening: drug target, protein expression
  4. Validation: animal model, biomarker, antibody, companion diagnostics


  1. Automated immunohistochemistry system (Ventana Discovery XT)
  2. Automated tissue micro-arrayer (Alphelys MiniCore)
  3. Slide scanner (Hamamatsu Nanozoomer C96000-01)


DIAPath is a multidisciplinary and inter-faculty unit (ULB Schools of Medicine and of Engineering) which offers an integrated solution to histological analysis as well as the identification, characterization and validation of tissue-based biomarkers. The methodology is based on standardized laboratory procedures and quality controls ensuring reproducibility and traceability. It involves the following technologies : (i) macroscopic analysis (organs, tissues, etc.), (ii) microscopic histological analysis (using haematoxilin-eosin and special staining), (iii) tissue microarray (TMA) and cell-block (for cell line analysis), (iv) immunohistochemistry (IHC), (v) whole slide imaging and image analysis, (vi) statistical data analysis. IHC has the advantage to preserve tissue morphology and thus antigen location at histological and cell levels. By simultaneously processing thousands of samples, the TMA technology allows standardized screening of protein expression using IHC and thus provides a very efficient way for biomarker validation. Slide scanning and image analysis enable archiving, sharing and quantitative staining characterization. Finally, data analysis enables biomarkers to be statistically validated and compared.

Representative publications:

  • Boumahdi S, Driessens G, Lapouge G, Rorive S, Nassar D, Le Mercier M, Delatte B, Caauwe A, Lenglez S, Nkusi E, Brohée S, Salmon I, Dubois C, Marmol VD, Fuks F, Beck B, Blanpain C. SOX2 controls tumour initiation and cancer stem-cell functions in squamous-cell carcinoma. Nature 2014;511(7508):246-50.
  • Moles Lopez X, Debeir O, Salmon I, Decaestecker C. Whole slide imaging and analysis for biomarker evaluation in digital pathology. In: A. Mendez-Vilas (ed.) “Microscopy: advances in scientific research and education”, Microscopy Book Series – 2014 Edition, Formatex Research Center, Vol. 2, pp. 776-787.
  • Moles Lopez X, Barbot P, Van Eyck Y-R, Verset L, Trépant A-L, Larbanoix L, Salmon I, Decaestecker C. Registration of whole immunohistochemical slide images: An efficient way to characterize biomarker colocalization. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2014 Aug 14 (online first, doi: 10.1136/amiajnl-2014-002710)
  • Allard J, Li K, Moles LopezX , Blanchard S, Barbot P, Decaestecker C, Pochet R, Bohl D, Lepore AC, Salmon I, Nicaise C. Immunohistochemical Toolkit for Tracking and Quantifying Xenotransplanted Human Stem Cells. Regen Med. 2014;9(4):437-52.
  • Moles Lopez X, D’Andrea E, Barbot P, Bridoux A-S, Rorive S, Salmon I, Debeir O, Decaestecker C. An automated blur detection method for histological whole slide imaging. PLoS One 2013 Dec 13;8(12):e82710.
  • Verset L, Tommelein J, Moles Lopez X, Decaestecker C, Mareel M, Bracke M, Salmon I, De Wever O, Demetter P. Epithelial expression of FHL2 is negatively associated with metastasis-free and overall survival in colorectal cancer. Br J Cancer 2013;109(1):114-20.
  • Le Mercier M, Hastir D, Moles Lopez X, De Nève N, Maris C, Trepant AL, Rorive S, Decaestecker C, Salmon I. A simplified approach for the molecular classification of glioblastomas. PLoS One 2012;7(9):e45475.
  • Moles Lopez X, Debeir O, Maris C, Rorive S, Roland I, Saerens M, Salmon I, Decaestecker C. Clustering methods applied in the detection of Ki67 hot-spots in whole tumor slide images: an efficient way to characterize heterogeneous tissue-based biomarkers. Cytometry A 2012 Sep;81(9):765-75.
  • Marhfour I, Moles Lopez X, Lefkaditis D, Salmon I, Allagnat F, Richardson SJ, Morgan NG, Eizirik DL. Expression of endoplasmic reticulum stress markers in the islets of patients with type 1 diabetes. Diabetologia 2012 Sep;55(9):2417-20.


Facility manager Academic supervisors
Isabelle SALMON