Thomas Bury, PhD

Thomas Bury, PhD

Applied mathematician

McGill University


Thomas Bury is an applied mathematician, data scientist, and TEDx speaker. He currently works at the Department of Physiology, McGill University. His research uses tools from mathematics and artificial intelligence better understand the dynamics of complex systems arising in ecology, epidemiology, climate science and medicine. He is currently working on methods to detect and classify cardiac arrhythmia in people. Besides research, he writes on Medium for Towards Data Science and teaches a range of courses.

Curriculum Vitae

  • Machine learning
  • Dynamical systems
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Responsible AI
  • Open source
  • PhD in Applied Mathematics, 2020

    University of Waterloo, Canada

  • MMath in Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, 2015

    University of Cambridge, UK

  • BA in Mathematics, 2014

    University of Cambridge, UK


Dept. of Physiology, McGill University
Postdoctoral Researcher
Jan 2020 – Present Montréal, Québec
  • Partnered with cardiologists (UBC, Cornell) and industry (Icentia inc.) to research mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmia from wearable device data.
  • Pre-processed ~60GB of electrocardiogram data from 12k patients using cloud resources (Compute Canada).
  • Created and deployed data dashboards (Plotly, Dash) to visualise records and derived metrics.
  • Implemented unsupervised machine learning (k-means) and dimension reduction techniques (PCA+t-SNE) to investigate arrhythmia subtypes.
  • Awarded a FRQNT Postdoctoral Research Scholarship ($45k per annum).
  • Supervised 1 graduate and 2 undergraduate students. Project trained a reinforcement learning agent in Tensorflow to generate an arrhythmia with minimal stimulus.
Quantitative Life Sciences, McGill University
Course Instructor
Sep 2021 – Oct 2021 Montréal, Québec
  • Course: “Foundations of Quantitative Life Sciences”.
  • Co-instructed 15 graduate students. Co-managed 1 teaching assistant.
School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph
Research Consultant
Mar 2021 – Dec 2021 Guelph, Ontario
  • Consultant for mathematical modeling and analysis of birdsong.
  • Created visualisations for the book “Parasitic Oscillations” by Dr. Madhur Anand, published by Penguin Random House.
Dept. of Applied Mathematics, University of Waterloo
Doctoral Researcher
Sep 2015 – Jan 2020 Waterloo, Ontario
  • Thesis: “Detecting and distinguishing transitions in ecological systems: model and data-driven approaches”.
  • Developed methodology and an open-source Python package for detecting tipping points (bifurcations) in time series data.
  • Tested methodology with climate, ecological, geological and engineering datasets, which outperformed conventional methods.
  • Published as first-author in leading journals including PNAS, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, and PLOS Comp. Biology.
  • Presented work at international conferences including TEDx, Soc. for Mathematical Biology, and Canadian Soc. of Applied and Industrial Mathematics.
Faculty of Mathematics, University of Waterloo
Course Instructor
Sep 2018 – Dec 2018 Waterloo, Ontario
  • “Calculus I for the Sciences”. 115 undergraduate students, 1 teaching assistant.
  • Received strong student evaluations (>4.5/5 average for each teaching aspect).
Centre for Mathematical Sciences, University of Cambridge
Summer Research Intern
Jun 2014 – Sep 2014 Cambridge
  • Processed and analysed disease incidence data from hospitals across East England.
  • Presented findings to public health professionals at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge.

Selected publications

Public talks

TEDx conference

I was invited to a TEDx conference at the University of Toronto, where I gave an accessible overview of tipping points and how mathematics can help us understand and detect them.

Centre de recherches mathématiques

A more technical presentation of my work on using deep learning to predict tipping points.

Three-Minute Thesis, University of Waterloo

A short summary of my PhD research at the finals of the Three-Minute Thesis competition.


  • thomas[dot]bury[at]mcgill[dot]ca
  • McGill University, 845 Sherbrooke St W, Montréal, Québec H3A 0G4