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[Colloquium] Ontologies in Biomedical Research

December 17, 2010

Watch Colloquium: 

M4V file (610 MB)


  • Date: Friday, December 17, 2010 
  • Time: 12noon — 12:50 pm 
  • Place: Centennial Engineering Center, Room 1041

Jessica Turner

Mind Institute

Biomedical research has produced an enormous amount of data suitable for mining, analysis, and meta-analysis. As a byproduct of this, new databases of original data, published results, and atlases are constantly emerging. Yet communication and the integration of information within and across these data resources is limited. There are numerous existing efforts that aim to develop ontologies, standardized structures to facilitate the exchange of information: RadLex, an ontology of medical imaging acquisition strategies (http://radlex.org); lexicons and ontologies of neuroanatomical regions (e.g., NeuroNames and the Foundational Model of Anatomy (FMA)); full medical ontologies for clinical care concepts, such as the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine (SNOMED) Ontology; descriptions of experimental methods and materials, such as the Ontology of Biomedical Investigation (OBI), the Cognitive Paradigm Ontology (CogPO); and many others. In this presentation, I will discuss the various motivations for developing ontologies within biomedical research, with examples drawn from several fields of research. In particular I will review the way biomedical research has led to multiple ontologies for different scientific domains, and the challenges that arise in coordinating biomedical ontology development around a set of core principles. The benefit of the efforts, however, is in the potential for automated reasoning over archived experimental data from multiple species and methodologies, to identify novel results.

Bio: Jessica Turner received her PhD in Experimental Psychology in 1997 from the University of California, Irvine. Her research interests span from basic cognitive neuroscience of perception and memory to clinical studies of neuropsychiatric and degenerative disorders, and the knowledge representation systems needed to reason automatically over scientific findings from multiple domains. She recently joined the Mind Research Network as an Associate Professor in Translational Neuroscience, and has an appointment in the UNM Department of Psychiatry.