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Abstract

Mass Spectrometry Imaging (MSI) is an established and still evolving technique for the spatial analysis of molecular co-location in biological samples. Nowadays, MSI is expanding into new domains such as clinical pathology. In order to increase the value of MSI data, software for visual analysis is required that is intuitive and technique independent. Here, we present QUIMBI (QUIck exploration tool for Multivariate BioImages) a new tool for the visual analysis of MSI data. QUIMBI is an interactive visual exploration tool that provides the user with a convenient and straightforward visual exploration of morphological and spectral features of MSI data. To improve the overall quality of MSI data by reducing non-tissue specific signals and to ensure optimal compatibility with QUIMBI, the tool is combined with the new pre-processing tool ProViM (Processing for Visualization and multivariate analysis of MSI Data), presented in this work. The features of the proposed visual analysis approach for MSI data analysis are demonstrated with two use cases. The results show that the use of ProViM and QUIMBI not only provides a new fast and intuitive visual analysis, but also allows the detection of new co-location patterns in MSI data that are difficult to find with other methods.