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MIA Talks

Overcoming bias and batch effects in high-throughput data

September 28, 2016
Dept. of Data Sciences, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Dept. of Biostatistics, Harvard School Public Health

The unprecedented advance in digital technology during the second half of the 20th century has produced a measurement revolution that is transforming science. In the life sciences, data analysis is now part of practically every research project. Genomics, in particular, is being driven by new measurement technologies that permit us to observe certain molecular entities for the first time. These observations are leading to discoveries analogous to identifying microorganisms and other breakthroughs permitted by the invention of the microscope. An examples of this are the many application of next generation sequencing.

Biases, systematic errors and unexpected variability are common in biological data. Failure to discover these problems often leads to flawed analyses and false discoveries. As datasets become larger, the potential of these biases to appear to be significant actually increases. In this talk I will describe several examples of these challenges using very specific examples from gene expression microarrays, RNA-seq, and single-cell assays. I will describe data science solution to these problems.