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NJIT professor finds engineering technique to identify disease-causing genes
Date:10/28/2008

Scientists believe that complex diseases such as schizophrenia, major depression and cancer are not caused by one, but a multitude of dysfunctional genes. A novel computational biology method developed by a research team led by Ali Abdi, PhD, http://www.njit.edu/news/2008/2008-367.php, associate professor in NJIT's department of electrical and computer engineering, has found a way to uncover the critical genes responsible for disease development.

The research appeared in "Fault Diagnosis Engineering of Digital Circuits Can Identify Vulnerable Molecules in Complex Cellular Pathways," the current cover article of Science Signaling, a new publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, publisher of Science.

"We see our research developing a novel technology holding high promises for finding key molecules that contribute to human diseases and for identifying critical targets in drug development," said Abdi. "The key to success was our collaboration among researchers with different backgrounds in engineering and medical sciences."

The scientists analyzed large cellular molecular networks whose dysfunction contributed to the development of certain complex human disorders. Molecules--genes or proteinscommunicate through interconnected pathways via different biochemical interactions, explained Abdi. Through these interactions, molecules propagate regulatory signals. The function of cells in the body is vulnerable to the dysfunction of some molecules within a cell. "In other words," he added, "different diseases may arise from the dysfunction of one or several molecules within an interconnected network system."

To better understand how dysfunctional molecules pass on their problems and which ones are key players, the scientists developed a novel, biologically-driven vulnerability assessment method. This novel algorithm is capable of calcul
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Contact: Sheryl Weinstein
sheryl.m.weinstein@njit.edu
973-596-3436
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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