Graphical causal models are an important tool for knowledge discovery because they can represent both the causal relations between variables and the multivariate probability distributions over the data. Once learned, causal graphs can be used for classification, feature selection and hypothesis generation, while revealing the underlying causal network structure and thus allowing for arbitrary likelihood queries over the data. However, current algorithms for learning sparse directed graphs are generally designed to handle only one type of data (continuous-only or discrete-only), which limits their applicability to a large class of multi-modal biological datasets that include mixed type variables. To address this issue, we developed new methods that modify and combine existing methods for finding undirected graphs with methods for finding directed graphs. These hybrid methods are not only faster, but also perform better than the directed graph estimation methods alone for a variety of parameter settings and data set sizes. Here, we describe a new conditional independence test for learning directed graphs over mixed data types and we compare performances of different graph learning strategies on synthetic data.