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Ezra Miller : Applying persistent homology to brain artery and vein imaging

Persistent homology measures geometric structures using topological invariants. When the structures are magnetic resonance images of branching arteries, for example, persistent homology records the connectedness of an increasing subset of the vessels. Although the theory of persistent homology is relatively well developed, and many aspects of its behavior are understood in synthetic examples, only recently have applications to genuine experimental data begun. This talk explains what we have learned about the geometry of blood vessels in aging human brains, as well as lessons this exploration has taught us about applications of persistent homology in general. These lessons inform further potential applications of persistent homology in statistical problems from biological and medical imaging. The main results are joint with Paul Bendich, Steve Marron, Aaron Pieloch, and Sean Skwerer (Math junior faculty, Stat faculty, Math undergrad, and Operations Research grad student). The talk will be accessible to advanced mathematics and statistics undergraduates, medical and biological researchers, statistics and mathematics faculty, and everybody in between.

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