Publications by authors named "Joeri K van der Velde"

4 Publications

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Rapid Targeted Genomics in Critically Ill Newborns.

Pediatrics 2017 Oct;140(4)

Department of Genetics, University of Groningen; and.

Background: Rapid diagnostic whole-genome sequencing has been explored in critically ill newborns, hoping to improve their clinical care and replace time-consuming and/or invasive diagnostic testing. A previous retrospective study in a research setting showed promising results with diagnoses in 57%, but patients were highly selected for known and likely Mendelian disorders. The aim of our prospective study was to assess the speed and yield of rapid targeted genomic diagnostics for clinical application.

Methods: We included 23 critically ill children younger than 12 months in ICUs over a period of 2 years. A quick diagnosis could not be made after routine clinical evaluation and diagnostics. Targeted analysis of 3426 known disease genes was performed by using whole-genome sequencing data. We measured diagnostic yield, turnaround times, and clinical consequences.

Results: A genetic diagnosis was obtained in 7 patients (30%), with a median turnaround time of 12 days (ranging from 5 to 23 days). We identified compound heterozygous mutations in the gene (Vici syndrome), the gene (combined oxidative phosphorylation deficiency-11), and the gene (vanishing white matter), and homozygous mutations in the gene (nemaline myopathy), the gene (progressive mitochondrial myopathy), and the gene (GM1-gangliosidosis). In addition, a 1p36.33p36.32 microdeletion was detected in a child with cardiomyopathy.

Conclusions: Rapid targeted genomics combined with copy number variant detection adds important value in the neonatal and pediatric intensive care setting. It led to a fast diagnosis in 30% of critically ill children for whom the routine clinical workup was unsuccessful.
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October 2017

SORTA: a system for ontology-based re-coding and technical annotation of biomedical phenotype data.

Database (Oxford) 2015 18;2015. Epub 2015 Sep 18.

University of Groningen, University Medical Centre Groningen, Genomics Coordination Centre, Department of Genetics, Groningen, The Netherlands, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Department of Epidemiology, Groningen, The Netherlands and LifeLines Cohort Study and Biobank, Groningen, The Netherlands

There is an urgent need to standardize the semantics of biomedical data values, such as phenotypes, to enable comparative and integrative analyses. However, it is unlikely that all studies will use the same data collection protocols. As a result, retrospective standardization is often required, which involves matching of original (unstructured or locally coded) data to widely used coding or ontology systems such as SNOMED CT (clinical terms), ICD-10 (International Classification of Disease) and HPO (Human Phenotype Ontology). This data curation process is usually a time-consuming process performed by a human expert. To help mechanize this process, we have developed SORTA, a computer-aided system for rapidly encoding free text or locally coded values to a formal coding system or ontology. SORTA matches original data values (uploaded in semicolon delimited format) to a target coding system (uploaded in Excel spreadsheet, OWL ontology web language or OBO open biomedical ontologies format). It then semi- automatically shortlists candidate codes for each data value using Lucene and n-gram based matching algorithms, and can also learn from matches chosen by human experts. We evaluated SORTA's applicability in two use cases. For the LifeLines biobank, we used SORTA to recode 90 000 free text values (including 5211 unique values) about physical exercise to MET (Metabolic Equivalent of Task) codes. For the CINEAS clinical symptom coding system, we used SORTA to map to HPO, enriching HPO when necessary (315 terms matched so far). Out of the shortlists at rank 1, we found a precision/recall of 0.97/0.98 in LifeLines and of 0.58/0.45 in CINEAS. More importantly, users found the tool both a major time saver and a quality improvement because SORTA reduced the chances of human mistakes. Thus, SORTA can dramatically ease data (re)coding tasks and we believe it will prove useful for many more projects. Database URL: or as an open source download from
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May 2016

Pheno2Geno - High-throughput generation of genetic markers and maps from molecular phenotypes for crosses between inbred strains.

BMC Bioinformatics 2015 Feb 19;16:51. Epub 2015 Feb 19.

University of Groningen, Groningen Bioinformatics Centre, Nijenborgh 7, Groningen, 9747, AG, The Netherlands.

Background: Genetic markers and maps are instrumental in quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping in segregating populations. The resolution of QTL localization depends on the number of informative recombinations in the population and how well they are tagged by markers. Larger populations and denser marker maps are better for detecting and locating QTLs. Marker maps that are initially too sparse can be saturated or derived de novo from high-throughput omics data, (e.g. gene expression, protein or metabolite abundance). If these molecular phenotypes are affected by genetic variation due to a major QTL they will show a clear multimodal distribution. Using this information, phenotypes can be converted into genetic markers.

Results: The Pheno2Geno tool uses mixture modeling to select phenotypes and transform them into genetic markers suitable for construction and/or saturation of a genetic map. Pheno2Geno excludes candidate genetic markers that show evidence for multiple possibly epistatically interacting QTL and/or interaction with the environment, in order to provide a set of robust markers for follow-up QTL mapping. We demonstrate the use of Pheno2Geno on gene expression data of 370,000 probes in 148 A. thaliana recombinant inbred lines. Pheno2Geno is able to saturate the existing genetic map, decreasing the average distance between markers from 7.1 cM to 0.89 cM, close to the theoretical limit of 0.68 cM (with 148 individuals we expect a recombination every 100/148=0.68 cM); this pinpointed almost all of the informative recombinations in the population.

Conclusion: The Pheno2Geno package makes use of genome-wide molecular profiling and provides a tool for high-throughput de novo map construction and saturation of existing genetic maps. Processing of the showcase dataset takes less than 30 minutes on an average desktop PC. Pheno2Geno improves QTL mapping results at no additional laboratory cost and with minimum computational effort. Its results are formatted for direct use in R/qtl, the leading R package for QTL studies. Pheno2Geno is freely available on CRAN under "GNU GPL v3". The Pheno2Geno package as well as the tutorial can also be found at: .
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February 2015

The MOLGENIS toolkit: rapid prototyping of biosoftware at the push of a button.

BMC Bioinformatics 2010 Dec 21;11 Suppl 12:S12. Epub 2010 Dec 21.

Genomics Coordination Center, Groningen Bioinformatics Center, University of Groningen & Department of Genetics, University Medical Center Groningen, P.O. Box 30001, 9700 RB Groningen, The Netherlands.

Background: There is a huge demand on bioinformaticians to provide their biologists with user friendly and scalable software infrastructures to capture, exchange, and exploit the unprecedented amounts of new *omics data. We here present MOLGENIS, a generic, open source, software toolkit to quickly produce the bespoke MOLecular GENetics Information Systems needed.

Methods: The MOLGENIS toolkit provides bioinformaticians with a simple language to model biological data structures and user interfaces. At the push of a button, MOLGENIS' generator suite automatically translates these models into a feature-rich, ready-to-use web application including database, user interfaces, exchange formats, and scriptable interfaces. Each generator is a template of SQL, JAVA, R, or HTML code that would require much effort to write by hand. This 'model-driven' method ensures reuse of best practices and improves quality because the modeling language and generators are shared between all MOLGENIS applications, so that errors are found quickly and improvements are shared easily by a re-generation. A plug-in mechanism ensures that both the generator suite and generated product can be customized just as much as hand-written software.

Results: In recent years we have successfully evaluated the MOLGENIS toolkit for the rapid prototyping of many types of biomedical applications, including next-generation sequencing, GWAS, QTL, proteomics and biobanking. Writing 500 lines of model XML typically replaces 15,000 lines of hand-written programming code, which allows for quick adaptation if the information system is not yet to the biologist's satisfaction. Each application generated with MOLGENIS comes with an optimized database back-end, user interfaces for biologists to manage and exploit their data, programming interfaces for bioinformaticians to script analysis tools in R, Java, SOAP, REST/JSON and RDF, a tab-delimited file format to ease upload and exchange of data, and detailed technical documentation. Existing databases can be quickly enhanced with MOLGENIS generated interfaces using the 'ExtractModel' procedure.

Conclusions: The MOLGENIS toolkit provides bioinformaticians with a simple model to quickly generate flexible web platforms for all possible genomic, molecular and phenotypic experiments with a richness of interfaces not provided by other tools. All the software and manuals are available free as LGPLv3 open source at
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December 2010