MetaMorph® software is part of the Meta Imaging suite of image acquisition and analysis software. It is available as part of the microscope’s image acquisition system or as a stand-alone version. I have only used the MetaMorph® offline version as we have Zeiss LSM and Simple PCI for acquiring images. The MetaMorph® offline version is wonderful for image analysis and has a long list of functionalities. It is capable of morphometry analysis, intensity measurements, colocalization, time analysis, 3D measurements, creating kymographs, and FRET analysis, among others. Three of the most useful features of the software are intensity quantification and ratio-imaging, particle tracking, and 3-D reconstruction. The MetaMorph® Basic package comes with the above features. For more specific applications, there are additional modules and enhanced features for purchase. These include colocalization and overlay, image stitching, automated particle tracking and motion analysis, cell cycle, counting and scoring, and neurite outgrowth. Modules can be purchased individually or all together in a Premier Offline package (this can save you money if you will utlilize more than one module, but not necessary if you won’t). Basically, this list just scratchs the surface of what the program promises to do; it is full of features and constantly being updated to include what users are requesting.
I have used MetaMorph® mostly for creating kymographs and performing motion tracking analysis. It has the ability to import pictures in a stack as a multipage tiff or to create a stack of images from imported individual files. While LSM files retain their time stamp, most files can be assigned a time stamp; images can also be calibrated for distance. This allows kymographs to be created and analyzed to automatically generate velocity measurements for each particle tracked. In addition, we purchased the motion tracking and analysis module separately for use in tracking the movement and velocity of mitochondria in hippocampal neurons. Although it can’t keep track of my fast moving mitochondria when they merge and combine, it does have the ability to manually track individual mitochondria. I have found the program easy to use with a plethora of functions. So far, it has been able to perform all the image analysis features I have needed.
There are multiple applications and uses for this software. It is very user friendly and the customer support is great. A couple applications I requested, such as the time stamp for the kymographs, were added in their upgrade versions. They also frequently offer workshops in various locations and will come and help you set up the software and answer questions. I have been very pleased with the program and with its ability to perform the applications I need. However, there are so many applications I haven’t tried probably a tenth of what the software proposes to do. I would definitely recommend at least trying it out – it is easy to get a trial version and see for yourself what the software can do.
MetaMorph® From Molecular Devices (now part of MDS Analytical Technologies)
Huge list of functions available; opens and analyzes large files of multiple types; specialized modules offered for motion tracking, cell counting, neurite outgrowth.
Quite expensive, may be too complicated for some analyses.
The Bottom Line
A very comprehensive software package for almost all image analysis needs offering wonderful support, workshops and tutorials.