About Next-Generation Clustered Heat Maps

John Weinstein image PI John Weinstein Bradley Broom image PI Bradley Broom

Clustered heat maps are the most frequently used graphics for visualization of molecular profiling data in biology, appearing in many thousands of publications—but as static images.

To provide more capability for exploration of large data matrices, we developed highly interactive “Next-Generation” Clustered Heat Maps (NG-CHMs). NG-CHMs enable the user to zoom and navigate dynamically and link out to dozens of external data resources and tools. NG-CHMs exploit recent advances in web technology to improve performance, provide a highly-responsive user experience, and facilitate deep exploration of the biology (or other science) behind the image.

NG-CHMs include the following interactive capabilities (among many others):

  • Extreme zooming without loss of resolution for drill-down into big data matrices.
  • Fluent navigation.
  • Link-outs from labels or pixels to a variety of pertinent annotation resources, including GeneCards, PubMed, the Gene Ontology, Google, and cBioPortal.
  • Flexible real-time recoloring.
  • High-resolution graphics that meet the requirements of all major journals.
  • Annotation with pathway data.
  • Capture of all metadata necessary to reproduce any chosen state of the map, even months or years later.

NG-CHMs are a product of the MD Anderson Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology in conjunction with In Silico Solutions. Funding support has been provided by the ITCR: grant number U24CA199461 from NCI/NIH, the TCGA: grant number U24CA143883 from NCI/NIH, The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation: The Lorraine Dell Program in Bioinformatics for Personalization of Cancer Medicine, The H.A. Mary K. Chapman Foundation, and an Anonymous donor for Computational Biology in Cancer Medicine.