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1.  Correlative Analysis of miRNA Expression and Oncotype Dx Recurrence Score in Estrogen Receptor Positive Breast Carcinomas 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(12):e0145346.
Altered expression of miRNAs has been observed in many types of cancer, including breast cancer, and shown to contribute to cancer growth, aggressiveness, and response to therapies. In this pilot study, we investigated the possible correlation of miRNAs with risk of recurrence of estrogen receptor positive, lymph node-negative mammary carcinomas as determined by the Oncotype DX® Breast Cancer assay. To accomplish this, we extracted RNA from a collection of breast carcinomas that had previously been analyzed by Oncotype DX®. Multiple Let-7 family members were negatively correlated with the recurrence score (RS), which is consistent with their tumor suppressor properties. Additional miRNAs were found to positively correlate with RS, including miR-377-5p, miR-633b, miR-548t and miR-3648. Pathway analysis of putative and validated targets suggests that these miRNAs may have a diverse range of functions that may contribute to tumor recurrence. Taken together, these findings provide evidence that a miRNA expression signature can be developed to aid existing methods to determine the risk of recurrence for women with estrogen receptor positive breast cancers treated with endocrine therapy.
PMCID: PMC4696739  PMID: 26717565
2.  Galaxy High Throughput Genotyping Pipeline for GeneTitan 
Latest genotyping solutions allow for rapid testing of more than two million markers in one experiment. Fully automated instruments such as Affymetrix GeneTitan enable processing of large numbers of samples in a truly high-throughput manner. In concert with solutions like Axiom, fully customizable array plates can now utilize automated workflows that can leverage multi-channel instrumentation like the GeneTitan. With the growing size of raw data output, the serial computational architecture of the software, typically distributed by the vendors on turnkey desktop solutions for quality control and genotype calling, becomes legacy rather than an advantage. Advanced software techniques provide power, flexibility, and can be deployed in an HPC environment, but become technically inconvenient for biologists to use. Here we present a pipeline that uses Galaxy as a mechanism to lower the barrier for complex analysis, and increase efficiency by leveraging high-throughput computing.
PMCID: PMC3814502  PMID: 24303311
3.  Analysis of lead toxicity in human cells 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:344.
Lead is a metal with many recognized adverse health side effects, and yet the molecular processes underlying lead toxicity are still poorly understood. Quantifying the injurious effects of lead is also difficult because of the diagnostic limitations that exist when analyzing human blood and urine specimens for lead toxicity.
We analyzed the deleterious impact of lead on human cells by measuring its effects on cytokine production and gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Lead activates the secretion of the chemokine IL-8 and impacts mitogen-dependent activation by increasing the secretion of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-α and of the chemokines IL-8 and MIP1-α in the presence of phytohemagglutinin. The recorded changes in gene expression affected major cellular functions, including metallothionein expression, and the expression of cellular metabolic enzymes and protein kinase activity. The expression of 31 genes remained elevated after the removal of lead from the testing medium thereby allowing for the measurement of adverse health effects of lead poisoning. These included thirteen metallothionein transcripts, three endothelial receptor B transcripts and a number of transcripts which encode cellular metabolic enzymes. Cellular responses to lead correlated with blood lead levels and were significantly altered in individuals with higher lead content resultantly affecting the nervous system, the negative regulation of transcription and the induction of apoptosis. In addition, we identified changes in gene expression in individuals with elevated zinc protoporphyrin blood levels and found that genes regulating the transmission of nerve impulses were affected in these individuals. The affected pathways were G-protein mediated signaling, gap junction signaling, synaptic long-term potentiation, neuropathic pain signaling as well as CREB signaling in neurons. Cellular responses to lead were altered in subjects with high zinc protoporphyrin blood levels.
The results of our study defined specific changes in gene and protein expression in response to lead challenges and determined the injurious effects of exposures to lead on a cellular level. This information can be used for documenting the health effects of exposures to lead which will facilitate identifying and monitoring efficacious treatments for lead-related maladies.
PMCID: PMC3424832  PMID: 22839698
Lead; Heavy metals; Cytokines; Gene expression; Peripheral blood mononuclear cells; Zinc protoporphyrin
4.  Positional differences in the wound transcriptome of skin and oral mucosa 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:471.
When compared to skin, oral mucosal wounds heal rapidly and with reduced scar formation. Recent studies suggest that intrinsic differences in inflammation, growth factor production, levels of stem cells, and cellular proliferation capacity may underlie the exceptional healing that occurs in oral mucosa. The current study was designed to compare the transcriptomes of oral mucosal and skin wounds in order to identify critical differences in the healing response at these two sites using an unbiased approach.
Using microarray analysis, we explored the differences in gene expression in skin and oral mucosal wound healing in a murine model of paired equivalent sized wounds. Samples were examined from days 0 to 10 and spanned all stages of the wound healing process. Using unwounded matched tissue as a control, filtering identified 1,479 probe sets in skin wounds yet only 502 probe sets in mucosal wounds that were significantly differentially expressed over time. Clusters of genes that showed similar patterns of expression were also identified in each wound type. Analysis of functionally related gene expression demonstrated dramatically different reactions to injury between skin and mucosal wounds. To explore whether site-specific differences might be derived from intrinsic differences in cellular responses at each site, we compared the response of isolated epithelial cells from skin and oral mucosa to a defined in vitro stimulus. When cytokine levels were measured, epithelial cells from skin produced significantly higher amounts of proinflammatory cytokines than cells from oral mucosa.
The results provide the first detailed molecular profile of the site-specific differences in the genetic response to injury in mucosa and skin, and suggest the divergent reactions to injury may derive from intrinsic differences in the cellular responses at each site.
PMCID: PMC3091667  PMID: 20704739

Results 1-4 (4)