4th Workshop on Topological Methods in Data Analysis

Synergies between TDA and Life Sciences

19 – 21 September 2023, Heidelberg University

Topological data analysis (TDA) is a quickly growing field of applied mathematics, that promises an exciting approach to the analysis of highly complex systems. This three-day workshop on applications of TDA to life sciences comprises introductions to the powerful data analysis machinery of persistent homology and to relevant biological backgrounds. A number of fruitful studies using TDA to tackle questions provided by life sciences will serve as highlighted examples to enter this rapidly evolving field of research. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to give a short presentation of their own TDA-related work in accordance with the focus of the workshop.

While primarily taking place online, ample opportunities for on-site get-together sessions in Heidelberg will be included.


Main workshop (hybrid)

Andreas Ott

Colloquium talks (both on Zoom)

Anthea Monod: “Using topology to predict clinical outcome in brain cancer patients”

Kathryn Hess: “Of mice and men”


Motivated by the desire to automate classification of neuron morphologies, we designed a topological signature, the Topological Morphology Descriptor (TMD),  that assigns a “barcode” to any any finite binary tree embedded in R^3. Using the TMD we performed an objective, stable classification of pyramidal cells in the rat neocortex, based only on the shape of their dendrites. In this talk, I will introduce the TMD, then focus on a very recent application to comparing mouse and human cortical neurons and characterizing the differences between them. This talk is based on collaborations led by Lida Kanari of the Blue Brain Project.

Lightning Talk Schedule

Freya Jensen, Viktoria Noel, Daniel Spitz

Technician: Michael Bleher