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Bayesian methods are routinely used to combine experimental data with detailed mathematical models to obtain insights into physical phenomena. However, the computational cost of Bayesian computation with detailed models has been a notorious problem. Moreover, while high-throughput data presents opportunities to calibrate sophisticated models, comparing large amounts of data with model simulations quickly becomes computationally prohibitive. Inspired by the method of Stochastic Gradient Descent, we propose a minibatch approach to approximate Bayesian computation. Through a case study of a high-throughput imaging scratch assay experiment, we show that reliable inference can be performed at a fraction of the computational cost of a traditional Bayesian inference scheme. By applying a detailed mathematical model of single cell motility, proliferation and death to a data set of 118 gene knockdowns, we characterise functional subgroups of gene knockdowns, each displaying its own typical combination of local cell density-dependent and -independent motility and proliferation patterns. By comparing these patterns to experimental measurements of cell counts and wound closure, we find that density-dependent interactions play a crucial role in the process of wound healing.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS Comput Biol

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