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See detailSystems medicine disease maps: community-driven comprehensive representation of disease mechanisms.
Mazein, Alexander; Ostaszewski, Marek UL; Kuperstein, Inna et al

in NPJ systems biology and applications (2018), 4

The development of computational approaches in systems biology has reached a state of maturity that allows their transition to systems medicine. Despite this progress, intuitive visualisation and context ... [more ▼]

The development of computational approaches in systems biology has reached a state of maturity that allows their transition to systems medicine. Despite this progress, intuitive visualisation and context-dependent knowledge representation still present a major bottleneck. In this paper, we describe the Disease Maps Project, an effort towards a community-driven computationally readable comprehensive representation of disease mechanisms. We outline the key principles and the framework required for the success of this initiative, including use of best practices, standards and protocols. We apply a modular approach to ensure efficient sharing and reuse of resources for projects dedicated to specific diseases. Community-wide use of disease maps will accelerate the conduct of biomedical research and lead to new disease ontologies defined from mechanism-based disease endotypes rather than phenotypes. [less ▲]

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See detailCommunity-driven roadmap for integrated disease maps.
Ostaszewski, Marek UL; Gebel, Stephan UL; Kuperstein, Inna et al

in Briefings in bioinformatics (2018)

The Disease Maps Project builds on a network of scientific and clinical groups that exchange best practices, share information and develop systems biomedicine tools. The project aims for an integrated ... [more ▼]

The Disease Maps Project builds on a network of scientific and clinical groups that exchange best practices, share information and develop systems biomedicine tools. The project aims for an integrated, highly curated and user-friendly platform for disease-related knowledge. The primary focus of disease maps is on interconnected signaling, metabolic and gene regulatory network pathways represented in standard formats. The involvement of domain experts ensures that the key disease hallmarks are covered and relevant, up-to-date knowledge is adequately represented. Expert-curated and computer readable, disease maps may serve as a compendium of knowledge, allow for data-supported hypothesis generation or serve as a scaffold for the generation of predictive mathematical models. This article summarizes the 2nd Disease Maps Community meeting, highlighting its important topics and outcomes. We outline milestones on the roadmap for the future development of disease maps, including creating and maintaining standardized disease maps; sharing parts of maps that encode common human disease mechanisms; providing technical solutions for complexity management of maps; and Web tools for in-depth exploration of such maps. A dedicated discussion was focused on mathematical modeling approaches, as one of the main goals of disease map development is the generation of mathematically interpretable representations to predict disease comorbidity or drug response and to suggest drug repositioning, altogether supporting clinical decisions. [less ▲]

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See detailMINERVA—a platform for visualization and curation of molecular interaction networks
Gawron, Piotr; Ostaszewski, Marek UL; Satagopam, Venkata UL et al

in NPJ Systems Biology and Applications (2016)

Our growing knowledge about various molecular mechanisms is becoming increasingly more structured and accessible. Different repositories of molecular interactions and available literature enable ... [more ▼]

Our growing knowledge about various molecular mechanisms is becoming increasingly more structured and accessible. Different repositories of molecular interactions and available literature enable construction of focused and high-quality molecular interaction networks. Novel tools for curation and exploration of such networks are needed, in order to foster the development of a systems biology environment. In particular, solutions for visualization, annotation and data cross-linking will facilitate usage of network-encoded knowledge in biomedical research. To this end we developed the MINERVA (Molecular Interaction NEtwoRks VisuAlization) platform, a standalone webservice supporting curation, annotation and visualization of molecular interaction networks in Systems Biology Graphical Notation (SBGN)-compliant format. MINERVA provides automated content annotation and verification for improved quality control. The end users can explore and interact with hosted networks, and provide direct feedback to content curators. MINERVA enables mapping drug targets or overlaying experimental data on the visualized networks. Extensive export functions enable downloading areas of the visualized networks as SBGN-compliant models for efficient reuse of hosted networks. The software is available under Affero GPL 3.0 as a Virtual Machine snapshot, Debian package and Docker instance at http://r3lab.uni.lu/web/minerva-website/. We believe that MINERVA is an important contribution to systems biology community, as its architecture enables set-up of locally or globally accessible SBGN-oriented repositories of molecular interaction networks. Its functionalities allow overlay of multiple information layers, facilitating exploration of content and interpretation of data. Moreover, annotation and verification workflows of MINERVA improve the efficiency of curation of networks, allowing life-science researchers to better engage in development and use of biomedical knowledge repositories. [less ▲]

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See detailIntegration and Visualization of Translational Medicine Data for Better Understanding of Human Diseases.
Satagopam, Venkata UL; Gu, Wei UL; Eifes, Serge et al

in Big data (2016), 4(2), 97-108

Translational medicine is a domain turning results of basic life science research into new tools and methods in a clinical environment, for example, as new diagnostics or therapies. Nowadays, the process ... [more ▼]

Translational medicine is a domain turning results of basic life science research into new tools and methods in a clinical environment, for example, as new diagnostics or therapies. Nowadays, the process of translation is supported by large amounts of heterogeneous data ranging from medical data to a whole range of -omics data. It is not only a great opportunity but also a great challenge, as translational medicine big data is difficult to integrate and analyze, and requires the involvement of biomedical experts for the data processing. We show here that visualization and interoperable workflows, combining multiple complex steps, can address at least parts of the challenge. In this article, we present an integrated workflow for exploring, analysis, and interpretation of translational medicine data in the context of human health. Three Web services-tranSMART, a Galaxy Server, and a MINERVA platform-are combined into one big data pipeline. Native visualization capabilities enable the biomedical experts to get a comprehensive overview and control over separate steps of the workflow. The capabilities of tranSMART enable a flexible filtering of multidimensional integrated data sets to create subsets suitable for downstream processing. A Galaxy Server offers visually aided construction of analytical pipelines, with the use of existing or custom components. A MINERVA platform supports the exploration of health and disease-related mechanisms in a contextualized analytical visualization system. We demonstrate the utility of our workflow by illustrating its subsequent steps using an existing data set, for which we propose a filtering scheme, an analytical pipeline, and a corresponding visualization of analytical results. The workflow is available as a sandbox environment, where readers can work with the described setup themselves. Overall, our work shows how visualization and interfacing of big data processing services facilitate exploration, analysis, and interpretation of translational medicine data. [less ▲]

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See detailBioinformatics Mining and Modeling Methods for the Identification of Disease Mechanisms in Neurodegenerative Disorders
Hofmann-Apitius, Matin; Ball, Gordon; Gebel, Stephan UL et al

in International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2015), 16(12), 29179-29206

Since the decoding of the Human Genome, techniques from bioinformatics, statistics, and machine learning have been instrumental in uncovering patterns in increasing amounts and types of different data ... [more ▼]

Since the decoding of the Human Genome, techniques from bioinformatics, statistics, and machine learning have been instrumental in uncovering patterns in increasing amounts and types of different data produced by technical profiling technologies applied to clinical samples, animal models, and cellular systems. Yet, progress on unravelling biological mechanisms, causally driving diseases, has been limited, in part due to the inherent complexity of biological systems. Whereas we have witnessed progress in the areas of cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, the area of neurodegenerative diseases has proved to be very challenging. This is in part because the aetiology of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer´s disease or Parkinson´s disease is unknown, rendering it very difficult to discern early causal events. Here we describe a panel of bioinformatics and modeling approaches that have recently been developed to identify candidate mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases based on publicly available data and knowledge. We identify two complementary strategies-data mining techniques using genetic data as a starting point to be further enriched using other data-types, or alternatively to encode prior knowledge about disease mechanisms in a model based framework supporting reasoning and enrichment analysis. Our review illustrates the challenges entailed in integrating heterogeneous, multiscale and multimodal information in the area of neurology in general and neurodegeneration in particular. We conclude, that progress would be accelerated by increasing efforts on performing systematic collection of multiple data-types over time from each individual suffering from neurodegenerative disease. The work presented here has been driven by project AETIONOMY; a project funded in the course of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI); which is a public-private partnership of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry Associations (EFPIA) and the European Commission (EC). [less ▲]

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