Abstract: Apoptosis is the cellular mechanism for programmed cell death. It is one of the most important biological pathways in the study of cancer development since cancer cells, to survive and propagate, must in some manner escape the apoptosis pathway. Understanding the multiple ways that specific tumors avoid apoptosis is critical to improving the study of individual cancers. Guided by this research goal we used a novel clustering method called Thresher to break down the apoptosis pathway into a stack of one-dimensional building blocks. Thresher combines principal component analysis, outlier filtering, and von Mises-Fisher mixture models to select the optimal number of one-dimensional clusters. Analyzing 19 different cancers from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), we determined that different cancers were associated with distinct building blocks within the apoptosis pathway.

Learning Objective 1: Attendee should learn how to break down a biological pathway into one-dimensional pathway building blocks.


Zach Abrams (Presenter)
The Ohio State University

Hetian Bai, The Ohio State University
Min Wang, The Ohio State University
Kevin Coombes, The Ohio State University

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