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  1. Abstract

    The rapid improvements in genomic sequencing technology have led to the proliferation of locally collected genomic datasets. Given the sensitivity of genomic data, it is crucial to conduct collaborative studies while preserving the privacy of the individuals. However, before starting any collaborative research effort, the quality of the data needs to be assessed. One of the essential steps of the quality control process is population stratification: identifying the presence of genetic difference in individuals due to subpopulations. One of the common methods used to group genomes of individuals based on ancestry is principal component analysis (PCA). In this article, we propose a privacy-preserving framework which utilizes PCA to assign individuals to populations across multiple collaborators as part of the population stratification step. In our proposed client-server-based scheme, we initially let the server train a global PCA model on a publicly available genomic dataset which contains individuals from multiple populations. The global PCA model is later used to reduce the dimensionality of the local data by each collaborator (client). After adding noise to achieve local differential privacy (LDP), the collaborators send metadata (in the form of their local PCA outputs) about their research datasets to the server, which then aligns the local PCA results to identify the genetic differences among collaborators’ datasets. Our results on real genomic data show that the proposed framework can perform population stratification analysis with high accuracy while preserving the privacy of the research participants.

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  2. Kinship relationship estimation plays a significant role in today's genome studies. Since genetic data are mostly stored and protected in different silos, retrieving the desirable kinship relationships across federated data warehouses is a non-trivial problem. The ability to identify and connect related individuals is important for both research and clinical applications. In this work, we propose a new privacy-preserving kinship relationship estimation framework: Incremental Update Kinship Identification (INK). The proposed framework includes three key components that allow us to control the balance between privacy and accuracy (of kinship estimation): an incremental process coupled with the use of auxiliary information and informative scores. Our empirical evaluation shows that INK can achieve higher kinship identification correctness while exposing fewer genetic markers. 
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  3. The process of matching patients with suitable clinical trials is essential for advancing medical research and providing optimal care. However, current approaches face challenges such as data standardization, ethical considerations, and a lack of interoperability between Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and clinical trial criteria. In this paper, we explore the potential of large language models (LLMs) to address these challenges by leveraging their advanced natural language generation capabilities to improve compatibility between EHRs and clinical trial descriptions. We propose an innovative privacy-aware data augmentation approach for LLM-based patient-trial matching (LLM-PTM), which balances the benefits of LLMs while ensuring the security and confidentiality of sensitive patient data. Our experiments demonstrate a 7.32% average improvement in performance using the proposed LLM-PTM method, and the generalizability to new data is improved by 12.12%. Additionally, we present case studies to further illustrate the effectiveness of our approach and provide a deeper understanding of its underlying principles. 
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