Research

Similarity network fusion for aggregating data types on a genomic scale

Recent technologies have made it cost-effective to collect diverse types of genome-wide data. Computational methods are needed to combine these data to create a comprehensive view of a given disease or a biological process. Similarity network fusion (SNF) solves this problem by constructing networks of samples (e.g., patients) for each available data type and then efficiently fusing these into one network that represents the full spectrum of underlying data. For example, to create a comprehensive view of a disease given a cohort of patients, SNF computes and fuses patient similarity networks obtained from each of their data types separately, taking advantage of the complementarity in the data. We used SNF to combine mRNA expression, DNA methylation and microRNA (miRNA) expression data for five cancer data sets. SNF substantially outperforms single data type analysis and established integrative approaches when identifying cancer subtypes and is effective for predicting survival.

  • Bo Wang, Aziz M Mezlini, Feyyaz Demir, Marc Fiume, Zhuowen Tu, Michael Brudno, Benjamin Haibe-Kains, Anna Goldenberg. Similarity network fusion for aggregating data types on a genomic scale. Nature Methods, 2014.

Visualization and analysis of single-cell RNA-seq data by kernel-based similarity learning

We present single-cell interpretation via multikernel learning (SIMLR), an analytic framework and software which learns a similarity measure from single-cell RNA-seq data in order to perform dimension reduction, clustering and visualization. On seven published data sets, we benchmark SIMLR against state-of-the-art methods. We show that SIMLR is scalable and greatly enhances clustering performance while improving the visualization and interpretability of single-cell sequencing data.

  • Bo Wang, Junjie Zhu, Emma Pierson, Serafim Batzoglou. Visualization and analysis of single-cell RNA-seq data by kernel-based similarity learning. Nature Methods, 2017.

Vicus: Exploiting local structures to improve network-based analysis of biological data

Biological networks entail important topological features and patterns critical to understanding interactions within complicated biological systems. Despite a great progress in understanding their structure, much more can be done to improve our inference and network analysis. Spectral methods play a key role in many network-based applications. Fundamental to spectral methods is the Laplacian, a matrix that captures the global structure of the network. Unfortunately, the Laplacian does not take into account intricacies of the network’s local structure and is sensitive to noise in the network. These two properties are fundamental to biological networks and cannot be ignored. We propose an alternative matrix Vicus. The Vicus matrix captures the local neighborhood structure of the network and thus is more effective at modeling biological interactions. We demonstrate the advantages of Vicus in the context of spectral methods by extensive empirical benchmarking on tasks such as single cell dimensionality reduction, protein module discovery and ranking genes for cancer subtyping. Our experiments show that using Vicus, spectral methods result in more accurate and robust performance in all of these tasks.

  • Bo Wang, Lin Huang, Yuke Zhu, Anshul Kundaje, Serafim Batzoglou, Anna Goldenberg. Vicus: Exploiting local structures to improve network-based analysis of biological data. PLoS Computational Biology, 2017.

Network Enhancement: a general method to denoise weighted biological networks

Networks are ubiquitous in biology where they encode connectivity patterns at all scales of organization, from molecular to the biome. However, biological networks are noisy due to the limitations of measurement technology and inherent natural variation, which can hamper discovery of network patterns and dynamics. We propose Network Enhancement (NE), a method for improving the signal-to-noise ratio of undirected, weighted networks. NE uses a doubly stochastic matrix operator that induces sparsity and provides a closed-form solution that increases spectral eigengap of the input network. As a result, NE removes weak edges, enhances real connections, and leads to better downstream performance. Experiments show that NE improves gene–function prediction by denoising tissue-specific interaction networks, alleviates interpretation of noisy Hi-C contact maps from the human genome, and boosts fine-grained identification accuracy of species. Our results indicate that NE is widely applicable for denoising biological networks.

  • Bo Wang, Armin Pourshafeie, Marinka Zitnik, Junjie Zhu, Carlos D Bustamante, Serafim Batzoglou, Jure Leskovec. Network Enhancement: a general method to denoise weighted biological networks. Nature Communications, 2018.

Want to join our team?

Do you have ideas that you think may help us do a better science? Then...

Contact us