Date of Award

May 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Zeyun Yu

Second Advisor

Roshan M D'Souza

Committee Members

Ethan Munson, Jun Zhang, Yi Hu, Peggy Peissig


Deep learning, Descriptive model, Image Processing, Manifold learning, Spectral analysis


In the current work, linear and non-linear manifold learning techniques, specifically Principle Component Analysis (PCA) and Laplacian Eigenmaps, are studied in detail. Their applications in medical image and shape analysis are investigated.

In the first contribution, a manifold learning-based multi-modal image registration technique is developed, which results in a unified intensity system through intensity transformation between the reference and sensed images. The transformation eliminates intensity variations in multi-modal medical scans and hence facilitates employing well-studied mono-modal registration techniques. The method can be used for registering multi-modal images with full and partial data.

Next, a manifold learning-based scale invariant global shape descriptor is introduced. The proposed descriptor benefits from the capability of Laplacian Eigenmap in dealing with high dimensional data by introducing an exponential weighting scheme. It eliminates the limitations tied to the well-known cotangent weighting scheme, namely dependency on triangular mesh representation and high intra-class quality of 3D models.

In the end, a novel descriptive model for diagnostic classification of pulmonary nodules is presented. The descriptive model benefits from structural differences between benign and malignant nodules for automatic and accurate prediction of a candidate nodule. It extracts concise and discriminative features automatically from the 3D surface structure of a nodule using spectral features studied in the previous work combined with a point cloud-based deep learning network.

Extensive experiments have been conducted and have shown that the proposed algorithms based on manifold learning outperform several state-of-the-art methods. Advanced computational techniques with a combination of manifold learning and deep networks can play a vital role in effective healthcare delivery by providing a framework for several fundamental tasks in image and shape processing, namely, registration, classification, and detection of features of interest.