🍩 Database of Original & Non-Theoretical Uses of Topology

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  1. Relational Persistent Homology for Multispecies Data With Application to the Tumor Microenvironment (2023)

    Bernadette J. Stolz, Jagdeep Dhesi, Joshua A. Bull, Heather A. Harrington, Helen M. Byrne, Iris H. R. Yoon
    Abstract Topological data analysis (TDA) is an active field of mathematics for quantifying shape in complex data. Standard methods in TDA such as persistent homology (PH) are typically focused on the analysis of data consisting of a single entity (e.g., cells or molecular species). However, state-of-the-art data collection techniques now generate exquisitely detailed multispecies data, prompting a need for methods that can examine and quantify the relations among them. Such heterogeneous data types arise in many contexts, ranging from biomedical imaging, geospatial analysis, to species ecology. Here, we propose two methods for encoding spatial relations among different data types that are based on Dowker complexes and Witness complexes. We apply the methods to synthetic multispecies data of a tumor microenvironment and analyze topological features that capture relations between different cell types, e.g., blood vessels, macrophages, tumor cells, and necrotic cells. We demonstrate that relational topological features can extract biological insight, including the dominant immune cell phenotype (an important predictor of patient prognosis) and the parameter regimes of a data-generating model. The methods provide a quantitative perspective on the relational analysis of multispecies spatial data, overcome the limits of traditional PH, and are readily computable.