Heat map visualization of complex environmental and biomarker measurements.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Over the past decade, the assessment of human systems interactions with the environment has permeated all phases of environmental and public health research. We are invoking lessons learned from the broad discipline of Systems Biology research that focuses primarily on molecular and cellular networks and adapting these concepts to Systems Exposure Science which focuses on interpreting the linkage from environmental measurements and biomonitoring to the expression of biological parameters. A primary tool of systems biology is the visualization of complex genomic and proteomic data using "heat maps" which are rectangular color coded arrays indicating the intensity (or amount) of the dependent variable. Heat maps are flexible in that both the x-axis and y-axis can be arranged to explore a particular hypothesis and allow a fast overview of data with a third quantitative dimension captured as different colors. We are now adapting these tools for interpreting cumulative and aggregate environmental exposure measurements as well as the results from human biomonitoring of biological media including blood, breath and urine. This article uses existing EPA measurements of environmental and biomarker concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to demonstrate the value of the heat map approach for hypothesis development and to link back to stochastic and mixed effects models that were originally used to assess study results.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Pleil, JD; Stiegel, MA; Madden, MC; Sobus, JR

Published Date

  • July 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 84 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 716 - 723

PubMed ID

  • 21492901

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-1298

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0045-6535

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.03.017


  • eng