PhD Defense: "Spatial Pattern Modeling and Discovery in Biological Images"

Aruna Jammalamadaka

August 14th (Thursday), 10:00am
Harold Frank Hall (HFH), Room 4164

Studying spatial arrangement and relationships in full tissue samples can improve our understanding of the various developmental/pathological processes that underlie proper organ or organism function. In particular, it has been found that neuronal or vascular structures are pervasive in many tissues, and oftentimes are spatially correlated with other cells. This work aims to discover those relationships, by extracting biological knowledge from cellular and sub-cellular imaging using spatial point process methods.

In this defense, I present my discoveries on spatial distributions and attributes of dendritic spines and retinal astrocytes, two crucial elements in the mammalian nervous system. Although little is known about the spatial distributions of either respective to their surroundings and attributes, this thesis attempts to pose some possible biological hypotheses based on strong statistical evidence, as well as further extend the tools used for spatial analysis. In particular, we develop a multi-type version of the linear network K-function, a summary function used for measuring clustering or repulsion of point features existing on a linear network. While the methods used in this work are directly applied to biological tissues and images, they have broad applications in many other domains.

About Aruna Jammalamadaka:

Aruna Jammalamadaka received the Regents Special Fellowship in 2002. She earned her B.S. degree from UCSB in 2006 and her Masters degree in 2007, during which time she was funded by the Distinguished Graduate Research Fellowship. She then spent one year at the HRL Laboratories in Malibu, where she worked on point cloud classification in 3D LIDAR data. She returned to UCSB in 2008 to continue her research in Bio-Image Informatics. She spent the summer of 2011 interning at Mayachitra Inc., where she worked on action classification in video. She received the ECE Dissertation Fellowship in Spring 2014. Her research interests include spatial statistics, regression and classification methods for bio-image data.

Hosted by: Professor B.S. Manjunath