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Creators/Authors contains: "Rahnavard, Ali"

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  1. Abstract

    Proteins are direct products of the genome and metabolites are functional products of interactions between the host and other factors such as environment, disease state, clinical information, etc. Omics data, including proteins and metabolites, are useful in characterizing biological processes underlying COVID-19 along with patient data and clinical information, yet few methods are available to effectively analyze such diverse and unstructured data. Using an integrated approach that combines proteomics and metabolomics data, we investigated the changes in metabolites and proteins in relation to patient characteristics (e.g., age, gender, and health outcome) and clinical information (e.g., metabolic panel and complete blood count test results). We found significant enrichment of biological indicators of lung, liver, and gastrointestinal dysfunction associated with disease severity using publicly available metabolite and protein profiles. Our analyses specifically identified enriched proteins that play a critical role in responses to injury or infection within these anatomical sites, but may contribute to excessive systemic inflammation within the context of COVID-19. Furthermore, we have used this information in conjunction with machine learning algorithms to predict the health status of patients presenting symptoms of COVID-19. This work provides a roadmap for understanding the biochemical pathways and molecular mechanisms that drive diseasemore »severity, progression, and treatment of COVID-19.

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  2. Abstract Motivation

    Modern biological screens yield enormous numbers of measurements, and identifying and interpreting statistically significant associations among features are essential. In experiments featuring multiple high-dimensional datasets collected from the same set of samples, it is useful to identify groups of associated features between the datasets in a way that provides high statistical power and false discovery rate (FDR) control.


    Here, we present a novel hierarchical framework, HAllA (Hierarchical All-against-All association testing), for structured association discovery between paired high-dimensional datasets. HAllA efficiently integrates hierarchical hypothesis testing with FDR correction to reveal significant linear and non-linear block-wise relationships among continuous and/or categorical data. We optimized and evaluated HAllA using heterogeneous synthetic datasets of known association structure, where HAllA outperformed all-against-all and other block-testing approaches across a range of common similarity measures. We then applied HAllA to a series of real-world multiomics datasets, revealing new associations between gene expression and host immune activity, the microbiome and host transcriptome, metabolomic profiling and human health phenotypes.

    Availability and implementation

    An open-source implementation of HAllA is freely available at along with documentation, demo datasets and a user group.

    Supplementary information

    Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

  3. Abstract

    SARS-CoV-2 (CoV) is the etiological agent of the COVID-19 pandemic and evolves to evade both host immune systems and intervention strategies. We divided the CoV genome into 29 constituent regions and applied novel analytical approaches to identify associations between CoV genomic features and epidemiological metadata. Our results show that nonstructural protein 3 (nsp3) and Spike protein (S) have the highest variation and greatest correlation with the viral whole-genome variation. S protein variation is correlated with nsp3, nsp6, and 3′-to-5′ exonuclease variation. Country of origin and time since the start of the pandemic were the most influential metadata associated with genomic variation, while host sex and age were the least influential. We define a novel statistic—coherence—and show its utility in identifying geographic regions (populations) with unusually high (many new variants) or low (isolated) viral phylogenetic diversity. Interestingly, at both global and regional scales, we identify geographic locations with high coherence neighboring regions of low coherence; this emphasizes the utility of this metric to inform public health measures for disease spread. Our results provide a direction to prioritize genes associated with outcome predictors (e.g., health, therapeutic, and vaccine outcomes) and to improve DNA tests for predicting disease status.

  4. Wren, Jonathan (Ed.)
    Abstract Motivation The discovery of biologically interpretable and clinically actionable communities in heterogeneous omics data is a necessary first step toward deriving mechanistic insights into complex biological phenomena. Here, we present a novel clustering approach, omeClust, for community detection in omics profiles by simultaneously incorporating similarities among measurements and the overall complex structure of the data. Results We show that omeClust outperforms published methods in inferring the true community structure as measured by both sensitivity and misclassification rate on simulated datasets. We further validated omeClust in diverse, multiple omics datasets, revealing new communities and functionally related groups in microbial strains, cell line gene expression patterns and fetal genomic variation. We also derived enrichment scores attributable to putatively meaningful biological factors in these datasets that can serve as hypothesis generators facilitating new sets of testable hypotheses. Availability and implementation omeClust is open-source software, and the implementation is available online at Supplementary information Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
  5. Coelho, Luis Pedro (Ed.)
    It is challenging to associate features such as human health outcomes, diet, environmental conditions, or other metadata to microbial community measurements, due in part to their quantitative properties. Microbiome multi-omics are typically noisy, sparse (zero-inflated), high-dimensional, extremely non-normal, and often in the form of count or compositional measurements. Here we introduce an optimized combination of novel and established methodology to assess multivariable association of microbial community features with complex metadata in population-scale observational studies. Our approach, MaAsLin 2 (Microbiome Multivariable Associations with Linear Models), uses generalized linear and mixed models to accommodate a wide variety of modern epidemiological studies, including cross-sectional and longitudinal designs, as well as a variety of data types (e.g., counts and relative abundances) with or without covariates and repeated measurements. To construct this method, we conducted a large-scale evaluation of a broad range of scenarios under which straightforward identification of meta-omics associations can be challenging. These simulation studies reveal that MaAsLin 2’s linear model preserves statistical power in the presence of repeated measures and multiple covariates, while accounting for the nuances of meta-omics features and controlling false discovery. We also applied MaAsLin 2 to a microbial multi-omics dataset from the Integrative Human Microbiome (HMP2) project which,more »in addition to reproducing established results, revealed a unique, integrated landscape of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) across multiple time points and omics profiles.« less
  6. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by the production of autoantibodies predominantly to nuclear material. Many aspects of disease pathology are mediated by the deposition of nucleic acid containing immune complexes, which also induce the type 1interferon response, a characteristic feature of SLE. Notably, SLE is remarkably heterogeneous, with a variety of organs involved in different individuals, who also show variation in disease severity related to their ancestries. Here, we probed one potential contribution to disease heterogeneity as well as a possible source of immunoreactive nucleic acids by exploring the expression of human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs). We investigated the expression of HERVs in SLE and their potential relationship to SLE features and the expression of biochemical pathways, including the interferon gene signature (IGS). Towards this goal, we analyzed available and new RNA-Seq data from two independent whole blood studies using Telescope. We identified 481 locus specific HERV encoding regions that are differentially expressed between case and control individuals with only 14% overlap of differentially expressed HERVs between these two datasets. We identified significant differences between differentially expressed HERVs and non-differentially expressed HERVs between the two datasets. We also characterized the host differentially expressed genes and testedmore »their association with the differentially expressed HERVs. We found that differentially expressed HERVs were significantly more physically proximal to host differentially expressed genes than non-differentially expressed HERVs. Finally, we capitalized on locus specific resolution of HERV mapping to identify key molecular pathways impacted by differential HERV expression in people with SLE.« less
  7. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 2, 2023
  8. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023