A computational framework to emulate the human perspective in flow cytometric data analysis

Ray, S. and Pyne, S. (2012) A computational framework to emulate the human perspective in flow cytometric data analysis. PLoS ONE, 7(5), e35693. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0035693)

[img] Text
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.



Background: In recent years, intense research efforts have focused on developing methods for automated flow cytometric data analysis. However, while designing such applications, little or no attention has been paid to the human perspective that is absolutely central to the manual gating process of identifying and characterizing cell populations. In particular, the assumption of many common techniques that cell populations could be modeled reliably with pre-specified distributions may not hold true in real-life samples, which can have populations of arbitrary shapes and considerable inter-sample variation. <p/>Results: To address this, we developed a new framework flowScape for emulating certain key aspects of the human perspective in analyzing flow data, which we implemented in multiple steps. First, flowScape begins with creating a mathematically rigorous map of the high-dimensional flow data landscape based on dense and sparse regions defined by relative concentrations of events around modes. In the second step, these modal clusters are connected with a global hierarchical structure. This representation allows flowScape to perform ridgeline analysis for both traversing the landscape and isolating cell populations at different levels of resolution. Finally, we extended manual gating with a new capacity for constructing templates that can identify target populations in terms of their relative parameters, as opposed to the more commonly used absolute or physical parameters. This allows flowScape to apply such templates in batch mode for detecting the corresponding populations in a flexible, sample-specific manner. We also demonstrated different applications of our framework to flow data analysis and show its superiority over other analytical methods. <p/>Conclusions: The human perspective, built on top of intuition and experience, is a very important component of flow cytometric data analysis. By emulating some of its approaches and extending these with automation and rigor, flowScape provides a flexible and robust framework for computational cytomics.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ray, Professor Surajit
Authors: Ray, S., and Pyne, S.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR180 Immunology
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Mathematics and Statistics > Statistics
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
Published Online:01 May 2012
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2012 The Authors
First Published:First published in PLoS ONE 7(5):e35693
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record