Navigation and Exploration of Interconnected Pathways


Visualizing pathways, i. e. models of cellular functional networks, is a challenging task in computer assisted biomedicine. Pathways are represented as large collections of interwoven graphs, with complex structures present in both the individual graphs and their interconnections. This situation requires the development of novel visualization techniques to allow efficient visual exploration. We present the Caleydo framework, which incorporates a number of approaches to handle such pathways. Navigation in the network of pathways is facilitated by a hierarchical approach which dynamically selects a working set of individual pathways for closer inspection. These pathways are interactively rendered together with visual interconnections in a 2.5D view using graphics hardware acceleration. The layout of individual graphs is not computed automatically, but taken from the KEGG and BioCarta databases, which use layouts that life scientists are familiar with. Therefore they encode essential meta-information. While the KEGG and BioCarta pathways use a pre-defined layout, interactions such as linking+brushing, neighborhood search or detail on demand are still fully interactive in Caleydo. We have evaluated Caleydo with pathologists working on the determination of unknown gene functions. Informal experiences confirm that Caleydo is useful in both generating and validating such hypotheses. Even though the presented techniques are applied to medical pathways, the proposed way of interaction is not limited to cellular processes and therefore has the potential to open new possibilities in other fields of application.


Marc Streit, Michael Kalkusch, Karl Kashofer, Dieter Schmalstieg
Navigation and Exploration of Interconnected Pathways
Computer Graphics Forum (EuroVis '08), 27(3), pp. 951-958, doi:10.1111/j.1467-8659.2008.01229.x, 2008.