The Anile-ECMI Prize is given to a young researcher for an excellent PhD thesis in industrial mathematics successfully submitted at a European university. It was established in honour of Professor Angelo Marcello Anile (1948-2007) of Catania, Italy and consists of a monetary prize of 2500 Euros and an invitation to give a talk at the ECMI 2021 conference on Wedneday 14 April.
In her DPhil (PhD), Bernadette investigated the use of topological data analysis for biological data. She developed methods to quantify the unique features of tumour blood vessel networks. Using persistent homology on experimental data from different imaging modalities, she validated known treatment effects on the networks and showed how the effects of radiation treatments alter the vascular structure.
In her thesis, Bernadette further applied persistent homology to functional networks from neuroscience experiments. To overcome computational challenges that are a major limitation in applications of persistent homology to real-world data, she researched the use of local computations of persistent homology and her results indicate that these can be used for outlier-robust subsampling from large and noisy data sets. In addition, she demonstrated that such computations can detect points located near geometric anomalies in data sampled from intersecting manifolds. This work has recently been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).
Bernadette developed her research in close collaboration with Oxford Mathematicians Heather Harrington, Jared Tanner, Vidit Nanda, and Helen Byrne as well as Mason Porter (UCLA), biological collaborators from Oxford Radiation Oncology and industrial researchers from Roche.
In her current postdoc at Oxford Mathematics' Centre for Topological Data Analysis, Bernadette is looking at applying persistent homology to quantify the output from mathematical models of angiogenesis.