Mitigating the adverse impact of batch effects in sample pattern detection

QuantNorm modifies the distance matrix obtained from data with batch effects, so as to improve the performance of sample pattern detection, such as clustering, dimension reduction, and construction of networks between subjects. The method has been published in Bioinformatics (Fei et al, 2018, https://doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/bty117).

QuantNorm: Vectorization approach


QuantNorm: Row/column iterative approach


Installation Guide


Example 1 - Human and Mouse Brain RNA-seq Data

The dataset (Zhang et al, 2016) is downloaded from http://web.stanford.edu/group/barres_lab/brainseq2/brainseq2.html. The data consists of brain RNA-seq measurements for human cells and mouse cells. There are 41 human cell samples and 21 mouse cell samples, the types of which is the column name of the data. For each cell sample, there are 15041 gene counts. The dataset can be loaded by data(brain).

library(rgl) #for 3D PCA display


#Numbering the cells by cell types
celltype <- c(rep(1,8),rep(7,6),rep(1,12),rep(2,1),rep(3,5),rep(4,3),rep(5,2),rep(6,4),

#Assigning the batch number that the 62 subjects belonging to.
batches <- c(rep(1,41),rep(2,21))

#Plot the 3D PCA for the uncorrected batch effect data
plot3d(princomp(1-cor(brain,method='spearman'))$scores[,1:3], col=celltype, size=10)

#QuantNorm correction
ccc <- QuantNorm(brain,batches,tol=1e-4)
plot3d(princomp(ccc)$scores[,1:3], col=celltype, size=10)

library(sva) #(may need to install package sva from bioconductor)
cleandat <- ComBat(log(brain+1),batches)
plot3d(princomp(ccc)$scores[,1:3], col=celltype, size=10)

Example 2 - ENCODE Data for Human and Mouse Tissues

The dataset used in this example is reproduced according to Gilad et al (2015). The data contains the log-normalized counts for 13 different tissues for human and their counterparts in mouse. Our algorithm obtains clusters by tissues. The dataset can be loaded by data(ENCODE).

library(pheatmap) #drawing heatmap

#Before correction, the subjects are clustered by species

#Assigning the batches based on species
batches <- c(rep(1,13),rep(2,13))

#QuantNorm correction
corrected.distance.matrix <- QuantNorm(ENCODE,batches,method='row/column', cor_method='pearson', logdat=F,standardize = T,tol=1e-4)

library(sva) #(may need to install package sva from bioconductor)
cleandat <- ComBat(ENCODE,batches)

QuantNorm (left) vs ComBat (right):



Fei, Teng, et al. “Mitigating the adverse impact of batch effects in sample pattern detection”, Bioinformatics, accepted (2018).

Gilad, Yoav, and Orna Mizrahi-Man. “A reanalysis of mouse ENCODE comparative gene expression data.” F1000Research 4 (2015).

Johnson, W. Evan, Cheng Li, and Ariel Rabinovic. “Adjusting batch effects in microarray expression data using empirical Bayes methods.” Biostatistics 8.1 (2007): 118-127.

Zhang, Ye, et al. “Purification and characterization of progenitor and mature human astrocytes reveals transcriptional and functional differences with mouse.” Neuron 89.1 (2016): 37-53.