I am a doctoral candidate in the Division of Applied Mathematics at Brown University. My primary research interests include applied toplogy and utilizing methods from topological data analysis to study dynamical systems, pattern formation, and biological phenomena. I am also interested in machine learning applications.

My research advisor is Björn Sandstede, and I am co-advised by Andrew Blumberg at the University of Texas at Austin. I am a recipient of the National Science Foundation GRFP award, and I received the Archambault Teaching Award for Brown's Summer Session. Prior to coming to Brown, I recieved my B.A. degree in mathematics from the College of the Holy Cross, where I was advised by David Damiano.

Currently, I serve as webmaster for the Brown University Student Chapter of SIAM, and I am a member of The Math CoOp at Brown. In the Math CoOp we help to come up with fun ways to present math to all grade levels. Based on work by Joel David Hamkins, I created a presentation on graph theory for elementary school students. Feel free to take it for your own use!


Division of Applied Mathematics
Brown University

Brown University Office:
Room 209, 170 Hope Street
Providence, RI

University of Texas Office:
Room 3.402, P.O.B.
Austin, TX

melissa_mcguirl at brown dot edu


News and Events

Hierarchical clustering of gene-level association statistics reveals shared and differential genetic architecture among traits in the UK Biobank

This preprint in collaboration with Samuel Pattillo Smith, Bjorn Sandstede, and Sohini Ramachandran has been posted on the bioRxiv. We present WINGS, a new method for characterizing genetic architecture among multiple phenotypes.

Fast Estimation of Recombination Rates Using Topological Data Analysis published in GENETICS

This paper in collaboration with Devon P. Humphreys, Michael Miyagi, and Andrew Blumberg has been published in GENETICS. The paper presents a fast model for predicting recombination rates using topological statistics.

Recipient of the 2018 Archambault Teaching Award for Brown University's
Summer Session
Providence, RI

I am honored to have received the 2018 Archambault Teaching Award for Brown's summer session when I taught applied ordinary differential equations. Recipients are selected based on their ability to influence, motivate and inspire students to learn.

Spotify Internship
Machine Learning Engineer
Summer 2019
New York, NY

I was accepted into the 2019 NYC Summer Internship Program at Spotify. I will be working as a Machine Learning Engineer, PhD for summer 2019.

Invitation to speak at the SIAM Conference on Applications of Dynamical Systems
Snowbird, UT
May 19-23, 2019

I will be speaking on "A Topological Study of Spatio-Temporal Pattern Formation" in the mini-symposium on Topological Data Analysis and Applications in Dynamical Systems at the SIAM Conference on Applications of Dynamical Systems.

Invitation to speak in minisymposium at the Equadiff conference
Leiden, the Netherlands
July 8 - 12, 2019

I was invited to give a talk in the minisymposium on "Topological data analysis of dynamical systems" at the Equadiff conference in Leiden, the Netherlands next summer.

Research group facilitator for ICERM conference on Applied Mathematical Modeling with Topological Techniques
August 5-9, 2019

I was invited to be a research group facilitator for the ICERM conference on Applied Mathematical Modeling with Topological Techniques.

SE and SnL Diagrams:
Flexible Data Structures for MIR published in
Proceedings of 19th ISMIR Conference

This paper in collaboration with Katherine Kinnaird, Claire Savard, and Erin Bugbee has been accepted for publication in the Proceedings of the 19th ISMIR Conference.

Selected Past Events

  • January 7-11, 2019: Invited to participate in Collaborate@ICERM: Topological Data Analysis and Music Information Retrieval.
  • December 3, 2018: Presented "Hierarchical Clustering of Gene-Level Association Statistics Reveals Differential Genetic Architecture Between Immunological and Metabolic Phenotypes in the UK Biobank" at the Women in Machine Learning Workshop poster session in Montreal.
  • November 8, 2018: Invited to speak on "A Topological Study of Spatio-Temporal Pattern Formation" at the Texas State University Topology Seminar.
  • October 23-24, 2018: Presented a poster on "Thresholded Hierarchical Clustering of Gene-Level Association Statistics" at the second TRIPODS PI workshop in Santa Cruz, CA.
  • October 5-7, 2018: Invited to speak on "A Topological Approach to Spatio-temporal Pattern Formation" at the Applied Topology Mini Symposium at the SIAM Central States Section Meeting in Norman, Oklahoma.
  • August 13-15, 2018: Invited to participate in the Tutorial on Multiparameter Persistence, Computation, and Applications at the IMA.
  • August 6-10, 2018: Co-organized the TRIPODS Summer Bootcamp: Topology and Machine Learning at ICERM. The workshop consisted of a hands-on tutorial and mini research conference.
  • Summer 2018: Instructor of APMA 0350: Applied Ordiniary Differential Equations at Brown University for the 2018 summer sesstion.
  • Fall 2017-2018: Co-organized the Applied Topology and Geometry seminar at Brown University. (Seminar webpage.)
  • Fall 2017-Spring 2018: Co-organized "Are we putting too much faith in math?," a Horizons reading group that focused on investigating and reflecting on the social impact of mathematical research. We are generously funded by the Women and Mathematics Program at IAS.
  • April 12, 2018: Spoke on "Topological Data Analysis and Applications" at the Spring 2018 Math Slam at Brown University.
  • April 7, 2018: Spoke on "A Topological Analysis of Model Sensitivity and Classification for Pattern Formation on Zebrafish" at the 2018 Advancing Women's Impact in Mathematics Symposium (AWIMS) at WPI.
  • December 4, 2017: Presented a poster on "Classifying Zebrafish Stripe Patterns using TDA and Multi-class SVMs" at the Women in Machine Learning Workshop in Long Beach, CA.
  • November 30, 2017: Spoke on "A Topological Analysis of Model Sensitivity for Pattern Formation on Zebrafish" at the 2017 Brown-BU Dynamics and PDE seminar at Boston University.
  • October 23, 2017: Spoke on "A Topological Analysis of Model Sensitivity for Pattern Formation on Zebrafish" at the Brown University Applied Math Graduate Seminar.
  • Summer 2017: Teaching Assistant for Summer@ICERM: Topological Data Analysis, an 8-week research experience for undergraduates that brought together students from around the world to learn about TDA.
  • September 2017: A Topological Analysis of Targeted In-111 Uptake in SPECT Images of Murine Tumors in collaboration with David Damiano (College of the Holy Cross) has been published in the Journal of Mathematical Biology.
  • May 2017: Assimilating Eulerian and Lagrangian data in traffic-flow models in collaboration with Chao Xia, Courtney Cochrane , Joseph DeGuire, Gaoyang Fan , Emma Holmes, Patrick Murphy, Jenna Palmer , Paul Carter, Laura Slivinski, and Björn Sandstede has been published in Physica D.