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Nov - Gabriela Cohen Freue

Speaker: Gabriela Cohen Freue

Talk Title: “Are protein and mRNA levels related? Why do we care?”

Event Details


Thursday, November 15, 2018 6:00pm

Affiliation: Associate Professor, Canada Research Chair Tier 2 in Statistical Proteomics, University of British Columbia (UBC)

Web-site: Gabriela Cohen Freue


Dr. Gabriela Cohen Freue has completed her Ph.D in Mathematical Statistics from the University of Maryland at Collage Park and postdoctoral studies in Biostatistics through her participation in the Biomarkers in Transplantation (BiT) initiative, hosted by the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. She then joined PROOF Centre of Excellence where she led the statistical analysis of proteomics data. She is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Statistics at the University of British Columbia and a Canada Research Chair-II in Statistical Proteomics. Her research interests are in robust estimation and regularization of linear models with applications to Statistical Genomics and Proteomics.


Prediction of protein levels from mRNA levels has long been fraught with unreliability and lack of precision. However, it has been recently claimed that using estimated gene-specific translation rates together with mRNA levels accurately predicts protein levels in any given tissue, reporting large correlations between predictions and measurements across genes (e.g., [1-2]). We show that these correlations greatly overestimate the accuracy of per-gene predictions [3]. Using simple and standard statistical evaluation methods, we demonstrate that the gene-specific protein prediction cannot be evaluated across genes. We show alternative appropriate approaches to evaluate per-gene prediction methods of protein from mRNA levels.

[1] Wilhelm, M. et al. Mass-spectrometry-based draft of the human proteome. Nature 509, 582–587 (2014).

[2] Edfors, F. et al. Gene‐specific correlation of RNA and protein levels in human cells and tissues. Mol. Syst. Biol. 12, 883 (2016).

[3] Fortelny et al. Can we predict protein from mRNA levels? Nature 547, E19–E20 (2017).

Please note:

Trainees are invited to meet with the VanBUG speaker for open discussion of both science and career paths. This takes place 5:00-5:45pm in either the Boardroom or Lunchroom on the ground floor of the BCCRC

Introductory Speaker: Shamsuddin Bhuiyan (PhD student, Paul Pavlidis lab, UBC)

Title: “Predicting genes with functionally distinct splice isoforms”

Webcast Link:

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