Anatomy and Neuroscience - Research Publications

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    Stemformatics: visualize and download curated stem cell data
    Choi, J ; Pacheco, CM ; Mosbergen, R ; Korn, O ; Chen, T ; Nagpal, I ; Englart, S ; Angel, PW ; Wells, CA (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2019-01-08)
    Stemformatics is an established gene expression data portal containing over 420 public gene expression datasets derived from microarray, RNA sequencing and single cell profiling technologies. Developed for the stem cell community, it has a major focus on pluripotency, tissue stem cells, and staged differentiation. Stemformatics includes curated 'collections' of data relevant to cell reprogramming, as well as hematopoiesis and leukaemia. Rather than simply rehosting datasets as they appear in public repositories, Stemformatics uses a stringent set of quality control metrics and its own pipelines to process handpicked datasets from raw files. This means that about 30% of datasets processed by Stemformatics fail the quality control metrics and never make it to the portal, ensuring that Stemformatics data are of high quality and have been processed in a consistent manner. Stemformatics provides easy-to-use and intuitive tools for biologists to visually explore the data, including interactive gene expression profiles, principal component analysis plots and hierarchical clusters, among others. The addition of tools that facilitate cross-dataset comparisons provides users with snapshots of gene expression in multiple cell and tissues, assisting the identification of cell-type restricted genes, or potential housekeeping genes. Stemformatics is freely available at stemformatics.org.
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    A simple, scalable approach to building a cross-platform transcriptome atlas
    Angel, PW ; Rajab, N ; Deng, Y ; Pacheco, CM ; Chen, T ; Le Cao, K-A ; Choi, J ; Wells, CA ; Fertig, EJ (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2020-09-01)
    Gene expression atlases have transformed our understanding of the development, composition and function of human tissues. New technologies promise improved cellular or molecular resolution, and have led to the identification of new cell types, or better defined cell states. But as new technologies emerge, information derived on old platforms becomes obsolete. We demonstrate that it is possible to combine a large number of different profiling experiments summarised from dozens of laboratories and representing hundreds of donors, to create an integrated molecular map of human tissue. As an example, we combine 850 samples from 38 platforms to build an integrated atlas of human blood cells. We achieve robust and unbiased cell type clustering using a variance partitioning method, selecting genes with low platform bias relative to biological variation. Other than an initial rescaling, no other transformation to the primary data is applied through batch correction or renormalisation. Additional data, including single-cell datasets, can be projected for comparison, classification and annotation. The resulting atlas provides a multi-scaled approach to visualise and analyse the relationships between sets of genes and blood cell lineages, including the maturation and activation of leukocytes in vivo and in vitro. In allowing for data integration across hundreds of studies, we address a key reproduciblity challenge which is faced by any new technology. This allows us to draw on the deep phenotypes and functional annotations that accompany traditional profiling methods, and provide important context to the high cellular resolution of single cell profiling. Here, we have implemented the blood atlas in the open access Stemformatics.org platform, drawing on its extensive collection of curated transcriptome data. The method is simple, scalable and amenable for rapid deployment in other biological systems or computational workflows.
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    Transcriptional Profiling of Stem Cells: Moving from Descriptive to Predictive Paradigms
    Wells, CA ; Choi, J (CELL PRESS, 2019-08-13)
    Transcriptional profiling is a powerful tool commonly used to benchmark stem cells and their differentiated progeny. As the wealth of stem cell data builds in public repositories, we highlight common data traps, and review approaches to combine and mine this data for new cell classification and cell prediction tools. We touch on future trends for stem cell profiling, such as single-cell profiling, long-read sequencing, and improved methods for measuring molecular modifications on chromatin and RNA that bring new challenges and opportunities for stem cell analysis.