May 1, 2007: Seminar: Sorin Draghici: "A Systems Biology Approach to Pathway Analysis"

Seminar Announcement

A Systems Biology Approach to Pathway Analysis

Sorin Draghici
Department of Computer Science,
Wayne State University
Thursday, May 3, 2007

11:00 a.m., Room 1000 SEO


A common challenge in the analysis of genomics data is trying to understand the underlying phenomenon in the context of all complex interactions taking place on various signaling pathways. A statistical approach using various models is universally used to identify the most relevant pathways in a given experiment. In this talk, we show that despite its general adoption, this statistical analysis is unsatisfactory, and can often provide incorrect results. We discuss how and why the limited numerical nature of this approach makes it ill suited to cope with the complex interactions and dependencies that characterize living organisms. Using a systems biology approach, we developed a more powerful impact analysis that extends the classical statistical approach by incorporating a number of crucial biological factors such as the magnitude of the expression change for each gene, the type and the position of the genes in the given pathways, the interactions between them, etc. To the best of our knowledge, none of the other approaches currently used for pathway analysis is able to integrate these factors in a coherent model. Notably, the novel integrated model we propose is fully coherent with the classical approach. When the limitations of the classical approach are forcefully imposed (e.g., ignoring the magnitude of the measured expression changes or ignoring the regulatory interactions between genes), the impact analysis reduces to the classical approach and yields exactly the same results. On several illustrative data sets, the classical analysis produces both false positives and false negatives while the impact analysis provides biologically meaningful results.

Brief Bio:

Dr. Draghici has published a best-selling book on microarray data analysis (Data Analysis Tools for Microarrays, Chapman and Hall/CRC Press), 7 book chapters and over 70 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers. He is co-inventor on 4 patent applications related to data analysis of microarray data. Dr. Draghici is the Director of the Bioinformatics Core at Karmanos Cancer Institute, head of the Intelligent Systems and Bioinformatics Laboratory in the Department of Computer Science ( and faculty in the Institute for Scientific Computing, Wayne State University.

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