Z3: Biostatistical data analysis and methods development core project

Simon Anders

This core project has two components: (A) the provision of consultation services regarding bio­informatics and biostatistics to other projects in the CRC and (B) a methods-development research program on a topic of high relevance to the CRC, namely on aspects of single-cell RNA-Seq data analysis of specific importance to vascular biology.

A) The members of this project will offer to all other projects of the CRC1366 advice and consultation services with respect to bioinformatics and statistics questions. While the focus will be on high-throughput sequencing and other omics data, we expect that expert advice might also be sought for other quantitative experiments.

B) Single-cell RNA-Seq assays are becoming an important tool in vascular biology, because cell-to-cell variations are large in complex systems which are studied here, comprising both vascular cells and surrounding tissue. This project will develop the biostatistical methods required to study such data, focusing on several core tasks of general importance: Namely the assignment of cells to cell types and positions within the given microanatomical structure, the quantification of statistical uncertainty in these assignments and of its impact on inference, and statistically sound inferential procedures to compare samples from perturbed to control conditions or samples from different organs. This will then be used to analyze data from several projects within the CRC. Furthermore, we will wrap up the developed methods as bioinformatics software packages, and make them available to the wider molecular biology community. We expect these tools to be of value not only for research in vascular biology but for any project using single-cell RNA-Seq assays on zonated tissues.