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Biostatistics Department Seminar: Investigating Dynamics in Spatial Omics Data with StarTrail

Department & Center Events

Monday, April 15, 2024, 12:05 p.m. - 12:50 p.m. ET
Wolfe Street Building/W2008
Past Event

Biostatistics Department Seminar 

Title: Investigating dynamics in spatial omics data with StarTrail

Abstract: Spatial omics technologies revolutionize our view of biological processes within tissues. However, existing methods fail to capture localized, sharp changes characteristic of critical events (e.g. tumor development). Here, we present StarTrail, a novel gradient-based method that powerfully defines rapidly changing regions and detects ”cliff genes”, genes exhibiting drastic expression changes at highly localized or disjoint boundaries. StarTrail, the first to leverage spatial gradients for spatial omics data, also quantifies directional dynamics. Across multiple datasets, StarTrail accurately delineates boundaries (e.g., brain layers, tumor-immune boundaries), and detects cliff genes that are crucial but missed by existing methods. For instance, StarTrail precisely pinpointed the cancer immune interface in HER2+ breast cancer dataset, unveiled key cliff genes and highlighted NK-, B-cell mediated immunity, and B cell receptor signaling pathway missed by all spatial variable gene methods attempted. StarTrail, filling important gaps in current literature, enables deeper insights into tissue spatial architecture.


Yun Li, PhD

Yun Li, PhD is a professor in the Department of Genetics, Department of Biostatistics, and an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


If you would like to join via Zoom, please register here.

2023-2024 Monday Seminar Series

All seminars are held at 12:05 PM via Zoom and onsite in Room W2008. View all seminar information here.