RENCI built this visual analytical tool to help UNC Chapel Hill’s Dr. William Kauffman determine whether the Gene Ontology terms assigned to proteins to describe their functions within the genome actually made sense. Dr. Kauffman hypothesizes that purging the ontology of old assumptions and classifications would make it more useful. By looking at genes based on their similarity and function versus the gene ontological assignment, Dr. Kauffman hopes to identify sets of genes that need to be re-examined.

This visualization was created to show and enable interaction with a tree that was far too large for traditional tools for viewing clusters of genes. The visualization handles a 58,000-node tree interactively on a visualization wall with ease, and allows the researcher to interact with individual nodes in the tree and collapse and expand subtrees to “zoom in” on a particular substructure.

Project Team

  • Jeff Heard
  • Xiaojun Guan


Dr. William Kaufmann, UNC Chapel Hill