Congratulations to UB Mathematics major Yanyan Li on being selected to present a research poster at two major events showcasing UB's undergraduate research excellence. Yanyan is studying gene co-expression networks under the guidance of her faculty mentor, Dr. Naoki Masuda. Specifically, she is deploying mathematical and computational methods for searching anomalous genes in networks of co-expression across different human organs, and how such genes may have evolutionary implications. Yanyan is one of the four awardees to present research at the SUNY 2022 Undergraduate Research Conference, held at Buffalo State College on April 23.  Yanyan will also present her work at UB's 18th Annual Celebration of Student Academic Excellence, on April 27, 2022. All are welcome to attend.


Yanyan Li & Ziliang Wang

Collaboration with Marie Saitou at Norwegian University of Life Sciences. We collected the data of gene expression amount called the transcripts per kilobase million values from 56200 genes and 30 human organs from the GTEx portal database. For each gene, we calculated the co-expression between each pair of organs as the Pearson correlation coefficient based on the samples that were common to the two organs. The co-expression network constructed in this manner may heavily depend on genes. To quantify the difference across the genes in terms of the structure of the organ-to organ co-expression network, we applied a principal component analysis to the 56200 networks, where we vectorized the co-expression correlation matrix to define the feature vector for each gene. In the space spanned by the first two principal components, we observe that there are some outlier genes which may be key genes that have specific biological functions or evolutionary implications.