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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Analytical techniques for the improvement of mass spectrometry protein profiling
by Pelikan, Richard Craig, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2011, 251; 3472018
Abstract (Summary)

Bioinformatics is rapidly advancing through the ”post-genomic” era following the sequencing of the human genome. In preparation for studying the inner workings behind genes, proteins and even smaller biological elements, several subdivisions of bioinformatics have developed. The subdivision of proteomics, concerning the structure and function of proteins, has been aided by the mass spectrometry data source. Biofluid or tissue samples are rapidly assayed for their protein composition. The resulting mass spectra are analyzed using machine learning techniques to discover reliable patterns which discriminate samples from two populations, for example, healthy or diseased, or treatment responders versus non-responders. However, this data source is imperfect and faces several challenges: unwanted variability arising from the data collection process, obtaining a robust discriminative model that generalizes well to future data, and validating a predictive pattern statistically and biologically.

This thesis presents several techniques which attempt to intelligently deal with the problems facing each stage of the analytical process. First, an automatic preprocessing method selection system is demonstrated. This system learns from data and selects a combination of preprocessing methods which is most appropriate for the task at hand. This reduces the noise affecting potential predictive patterns. Our results suggest that this method can help adapt to data from different technologies, improving downstream predictive performance. Next, the issues of feature selection and predictive modeling are revisited with respect to the unique challenges posed by proteomic profile data. Approaches to model selection through kernel learning are also investigated. Key insights are obtained for designing the feature selection and predictive modeling portion of the analytical framework. Finally, methods for interpreting the results of predictive modeling are demonstrated. These methods are used to assure the user of various desirable properties: validation of the strength of a predictive model, validation of reproducible signal across multiple data generation sessions and generalizability of predictive models to future data. A method for labeling profile features with biological identities is also presented, which aids in the interpretation of the data. Overall, these novel techniques give the protein profiling community additional support and leverage to aid the predictive capability of the technology.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hauskrecht, Milos
School: University of Pittsburgh
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-B 72/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Analytical chemistry, Bioinformatics, Artificial intelligence
Keywords: Biofluid, Machine learning, Protein composition, Protein profiling, Proteomics, Tissues
Publication Number: 3472018
ISBN: 978-1-124-88042-6
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