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Title: Statistical methods for the testing and estimation of linear dependence structures on paired high-dimensional data : application to genomic data
Author: Mestres, Adrià Caballé
ISNI:       0000 0004 7429 4822
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis provides novel methodology for statistical analysis of paired high-dimensional genomic data, with the aimto identify gene interactions specific to each group of samples as well as the gene connections that change between the two classes of observations. An example of such groups can be patients under two medical conditions, in which the estimation of gene interaction networks is relevant to biologists as part of discerning gene regulatory mechanisms that control a disease process like, for instance, cancer. We construct these interaction networks fromdata by considering the non-zero structure of correlationmatrices, which measure linear dependence between random variables, and their inversematrices, which are commonly known as precision matrices and determine linear conditional dependence instead. In this regard, we study three statistical problems related to the testing, single estimation and joint estimation of (conditional) dependence structures. Firstly, we develop hypothesis testingmethods to assess the equality of two correlation matrices, and also two correlation sub-matrices, corresponding to two classes of samples, and hence the equality of the underlying gene interaction networks. We consider statistics based on the average of squares, maximum and sum of exceedances of sample correlations, which are suitable for both independent and paired observations. We derive the limiting distributions for the test statistics where possible and, for practical needs, we present a permuted samples based approach to find their corresponding non-parametric distributions. Cases where such hypothesis testing presents enough evidence against the null hypothesis of equality of two correlation matrices give rise to the problem of estimating two correlation (or precision) matrices. However, before that we address the statistical problem of estimating conditional dependence between random variables in a single class of samples when data are high-dimensional, which is the second topic of the thesis. We study the graphical lasso method which employs an L1 penalized likelihood expression to estimate the precision matrix and its underlying non-zero graph structure. The lasso penalization termis given by the L1 normof the precisionmatrix elements scaled by a regularization parameter, which determines the trade-off between sparsity of the graph and fit to the data, and its selection is our main focus of investigation. We propose several procedures to select the regularization parameter in the graphical lasso optimization problem that rely on network characteristics such as clustering or connectivity of the graph. Thirdly, we address the more general problem of estimating two precision matrices that are expected to be similar, when datasets are dependent, focusing on the particular case of paired observations. We propose a new method to estimate these precision matrices simultaneously, a weighted fused graphical lasso estimator. The analogous joint estimation method concerning two regression coefficient matrices, which we call weighted fused regression lasso, is also developed in this thesis under the same paired and high-dimensional setting. The two joint estimators maximize penalized marginal log likelihood functions, which encourage both sparsity and similarity in the estimated matrices, and that are solved using an alternating direction method of multipliers (ADMM) algorithm. Sparsity and similarity of thematrices are determined by two tuning parameters and we propose to choose them by controlling the corresponding average error rates related to the expected number of false positive edges in the estimated conditional dependence networks. These testing and estimation methods are implemented within the R package ldstatsHD, and are applied to a comprehensive range of simulated data sets as well as to high-dimensional real case studies of genomic data. We employ testing approaches with the purpose of discovering pathway lists of genes that present significantly different correlation matrices on healthy and unhealthy (e.g., tumor) samples. Besides, we use hypothesis testing problems on correlation sub-matrices to reduce the number of genes for estimation. The proposed joint estimation methods are then considered to find gene interactions that are common between medical conditions as well as interactions that vary in the presence of unhealthy tissues.
Supervisor: Bochkina, Natalia ; Aitken, Colin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: high-dimensional data ; conditional dependence ; gene expression ; hypothesis testing ; correlation matrix ; precision matrix ; graphical lasso