Advisory Committee Chair
Advisory Committee Members
Date of Award
Degree Name by School
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Public Health
The human microbiome was ﬁrst described as an “ecological community of commensal, symbiotic, and pathogenic microorganisms that literally share our bodyspace”. These microorganisms, also known as microbes and bacteria, are known for participation in human health. For example, microbes extract energy from foods that are otherwise indigestible, synthesize vitamins and amino acids necessary for important bodily functions, and protect hosts against disease-carrying pathogens. Therefore, the pursuit of human microbiome research is important for understanding the inﬂuence of microorganisms throughout human systems. Human microbiome research is founded on advances in next-generation sequencing technology. Namely, the identiﬁcation of microbes that constitute the microbiota and associated metagenome drives interpretations of interactions and variability within and between microbes residing on and in human subjects. Relationships between bacteria and disease have been identiﬁed, for example, in cases of inﬂammatory bowel disease, diabetes, periodontal disease and various cancers. Also, evidence has been found to suggest changes associated with demographic traits such as age and race and behavioral traits such as dietary practices and antibiotic usage. A number of important questions concerning the commonalities and divergences in the human microbiome, however, have yet to be addressed. The primary interest of this dissertation involves addressing these outstanding questions through diﬀerential abundance analysis which is utilized to determine whether microbes are statistically associated with host characteristics. The simplicity of this goal is complicated due to characteristics of human microbiome count data such as ﬂuctuating library size, over-dispersion, high-dimensionality, and sparsity. Fortunately, the ﬁrst challenges have been widely studied in the context of microarray and RNA-Seq experiments. In order to address high-dimensionality, we ﬁrst propose a Bayesian hierarchical negative binomial model capable of providing a comprehensive solution in respect to regression coeﬃcient estimation when the number of covariates equals or exceeds the number of samples. Moreover, we propose a Bayesian hierarchical zero-inﬂated negative binomial model to provide even better ﬁt by correcting for sparsity through delineation between sampling and true zeros. Application to the American Gut Project demonstrates the usefulness of the proposed methodologies given the ability to identify biologically relevant microbes consistent with contemporary literature.
Pendegraft, Amanda H., "Bayesian Hierarchical Negative Binomial And Zero-Inflated Negative Binomial Models For High-Dimensional Analyses With Applications To Human Microbiome Count Data" (2019). All ETDs from UAB. 2696.