Department of Statistics,
Florida State University

"Statistical Shape Analysis of Complex Biological Structures"

Feb 23, 2022 Schedule:

Tea Time - Virtual ( Zoom)
03:00 to 03:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Colloquium - F2F ( 499 DSL) / Virtual ( Zoom)
03:30 to 04:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Modern imaging techniques in biology lead to abundant structural data. The paradigm "Structure determines functionality" dictates that the roles and functionalities of different biological objects are intimately tied to their morphologies. This talk discusses mathematical representations and statistical analyses of relevant biological objects, including amoeba cells, chromosomes, botanical trees, and blood vessel networks. Mathematically, these objects are represented as parameterized curves, surfaces, branching trees, or shape graphs. I will describe the use of elastic Riemannian metrics for comparing shapes of such objects in a way that is invariant to their rotations, translations, scaling, and parameterizations. These geometrical tools help us compute average shapes of 3D (botanical) trees, develop a shape alphabet for representing chromosomes as letter sequences, perform principal component analysis of arterial brain networks, and model dynamics of Entamoeba Histolytica in different liquid media. Furthermore, they help us address some fundamental scientific questions: Are the shapes of mitochondria in cells of our muscle tissues affected by our lifestyle (active versus sedentary)? Can we predict the onset of cognitive disorders using subcortical structures in the human brain? How does aging affect morphologies of arterial networks in human brains?