Zhandong Liu, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics- Neurology, Baylor College of Medicine and the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children's Hospital
Research focus: developing computational models of biological data leading to better understanding of the etiology of neurological diseases
Dr. Zhandong Liu develops bioinformatics approaches for analyzing high-throughput biological data produced by gene expression arrays, RNA-seq and genomic sequencing. His work integrates multiple data types in the interest of advancing our understanding of neurological diseases.
Consider the case of genome-wide expression data, which can provide important snapshots of differences between normal and pathological cellular processes. Yet the hope of being able to assess the activation status of a particular signaling pathway or transcriptional network using only gene expression data remains an elusive goal. Dr. Liu developed a graphical random walk (GRW)-based algorithm that can accurately predict pathway activity from microarray gene expression data. GRW uses gene-gene interaction data to construct a pathway signature in a manner analogous to particle-particle interactions described by Coulomb’s law. By comparing GRW to other standard approaches, he has demonstrated that GRW can sensitively and specifically predict pathway activity across tissues, species, and platforms.
The Liu lab’s long-term goal is to develop computational models and algorithms in areas of genomics and computational biology. These tools will allow us to better understand the etiology of neurological diseases from computational and systems biology perspectives.