[talks] Sasha Koruga MSE thesis talk

Melissa M. Lawson mml at CS.Princeton.EDU
Fri May 3 10:25:14 EDT 2013

Sasha Koruga will present his MSE thesis talk on Wednesday May 8 at 4PM in 
room 402. The members of his committee are Olga Troyanskaya (advisor) and 
Kai Li. Everyone is invited to attend his talk. His abstract follows below. 

----- Original Message -----

A biological pathway can be modeled as a network of sparsely connected proteins, where network paths correspond to a sequence of protein-protein interactions leading to higher-level changes within the cells in the human body. A deeper understanding of how proteins interact to carry out biological goals can lead to insights in human disease research and the proposal of new drug targets. However, the number of pathways we currently understand is limited, and these pathways are incomplete. Although experimental evidence for many protein interactions and protein-pathway affiliations exist in research literature, only relatively few have been manually curated. 

We propose using crowd-sourcing to aggregate published biological research in order to construct new pathways and augment existing ones. We hope to use these pathways to enable accurate prediction of yet more pathway components and drug targets based on functional genomics data. We developed a web application ( http://bioturk.princeton.edu ) where untrained users can answer simple biological questions by using their ability to deconstruct sentences. By deciphering sentences from PubMed, these users will help us support biomedical research. At the same time that the users learn more about biology and biological pathways involved in disease, our approach can also leverage participation by expert biologists. These biologists are given contested questions, have their answers up-weighed, and utilize an expert user interface that allows them to provide corrections to the pathways. 

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