Faculty Publications


Heterogeneous Multi-Layered Network Model for Omics Data Integration and Analysis

Document Type



biological data analysis, biological network, data mining and knowledge discovery, deep learning, link prediction, machine learning, relation inference

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Frontiers in Genetics




Advances in next-generation sequencing and high-throughput techniques have enabled the generation of vast amounts of diverse omics data. These big data provide an unprecedented opportunity in biology, but impose great challenges in data integration, data mining, and knowledge discovery due to the complexity, heterogeneity, dynamics, uncertainty, and high-dimensionality inherited in the omics data. Network has been widely used to represent relations between entities in biological system, such as protein-protein interaction, gene regulation, and brain connectivity (i.e. network construction) as well as to infer novel relations given a reconstructed network (aka link prediction). Particularly, heterogeneous multi-layered network (HMLN) has proven successful in integrating diverse biological data for the representation of the hierarchy of biological system. The HMLN provides unparalleled opportunities but imposes new computational challenges on establishing causal genotype-phenotype associations and understanding environmental impact on organisms. In this review, we focus on the recent advances in developing novel computational methods for the inference of novel biological relations from the HMLN. We first discuss the properties of biological HMLN. Then we survey four categories of state-of-the-art methods (matrix factorization, random walk, knowledge graph, and deep learning). Thirdly, we demonstrate their applications to omics data integration and analysis. Finally, we outline strategies for future directions in the development of new HMLN models.

Original Publication Date


DOI of published version



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