Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Computer Science


Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

First Advisor

Vasant G. Honavar

Second Advisor

Mary W. Greenlee


Comparative analysis of biomolecular networks constructed using measurements from different conditions, tissues, and organisms offer a powerful approach to understanding the structure, function, dynamics, and evolution of complex biological systems. The rapidly advancing field of systems biology aims to understand the structure, function, dynamics, and evolution of complex biological systems in terms of the underlying networks of interactions among the large number of molecular participants involved including genes, proteins, and metabolites. In particular, the comparative analysis of network models representing biomolecular interactions in different species or tissues offers an important tool for identifying conserved modules, predicting functions of specific genes or proteins and studying the evolution of biological processes, among other applications.

The primary focus of this dissertation is on the biomolecular network alignment problem: Given two or more network models, the problem is to optimally match the nodes and links in one network with the nodes and links of the other. The Biomolecular Network Alignment (BiNA) Toolkit developed as part of this dissertation provides a set of efficient (in terms of the running time complexity) and accurate (in terms of various evaluation criteria discussed in the literature) network alignment algorithms for biomolecular networks. BiNA is scalable, user-friendly, modular, and extensible for performing alignments on diverse types of biomolecular networks. The algorithm is applicable to (1) undirected graphs in their weighted and unweighted variations (2) undirected graphs in their labeled and unlabeled variations (3) and has been applied to align multiple networks from hundreds of nodes with a few thousand edges to networks with tens of thousands of nodes with millions of edges. The dissertation provides various applications of network comparison tools including how results from such alignments have been utilized to (1) construct phylogenetic trees based on protein-protein interaction networks, and (2) find biochemical pathways involved in ligand recognition in B cells.


Copyright Owner

Fadi George Towfic



Date Available


File Format


File Size

162 pages