We describe a new method, PhenomeExpress, for the analysis of transcriptomic datasets to identify pathogenic disease mechanisms. Our analysis method includes input from both protein-protein interaction and phenotype similarity networks. This introduces valuable information from disease relevant phenotypes, which aids the identification of sub-networks that are significantly enriched in differentially expressed genes and are related to the disease relevant phenotypes. This contrasts with many active sub-network detection methods, which rely solely on protein-protein interaction networks derived from compounded data of many unrelated biological conditions and which are therefore not specific to the context of the experiment. PhenomeExpress thus exploits readily available animal model and human disease phenotype information. It combines this prior evidence of disease phenotypes with the experimentally derived disease data sets to provide a more targeted analysis. Two case studies, in subchondral bone in osteoarthritis and in Pax5 in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, demonstrate that PhenomeExpress identifies core disease pathways in both mouse and human disease expression datasets derived from different technologies. We also validate the approach by comparison to state-of-the-art active sub-network detection methods, which reveals how it may enhance the detection of molecular phenotypes and provide a more detailed context to those previously identified as possible candidates.