The goal of the National Center for Biomedical Ontology is to support biomedical researchers in their knowledge-intensive work, by providing online tools and a Web portal enabling them to access, review, and integrate disparate ontological resources in all aspects of biomedical investigation and clinical practice. A major focus of our work involves the use of biomedical ontologies to aid in the management and analysis of data derived from complex experiments.
The Center is organized into six core components:
- Core 1: Computer science and biomedical informatics research
- Core 2: Driving biological projects and external research collaborations
- Core 3: Infrastructure
- Core 4: Education
- Core 5: Dissemination
- Core 6: Administration
The Center is truly a National Center, assembling the expertise of leading investigators from across the country.
Organization of the Center
The Core 1 computer-science research bioinformatics research involves the participation of Stanford University, Mayo Clinic, University of Victoria, and University of Buffalo. Past and Present Driving Biological Projects involve investigation of model-organism databases, analysis of clinical-trial data stored in TrialBank, cancer nanotechnology, annotation of biomedical time-series data and others.
The computer-science research in Core 1 delivers tools for accessing and unifying ontologies, and concentrates on creating tools for using these ontologies to annotate large biomedical data sets, enabling data-set analysis and integration. These tools enable the driving biological projects in Core 2. There is a direct flow of tools and technologies from Core 1 to Core 2, while the projects in Core 2 motivate our Center’s research activities at all levels.
The Center achieves its objectives by advancing standards of good practice, by creating tools and theories that support a wide range of driving biological projects and collaborative research activities, and by training computational biologists, specialists in informatics, and computer scientists in the use of ontologies and of the Center’s technologies in support of their research.