Department of Neurology
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Autoimmunity; Bioinformatics; Genomics and proteomics; Immunology; Infectious Disease; Molecular and Cellular Biology; Molecular genetics; Neurobiology
My primary research is in the field of biomedical ontology development. An ontology is a controlled, structured vocabulary, intended to represent knowledge within a particular domain. Terms in an ontology have logical relationships to each other and to terms in other ontologies, to allow for reasoning and inference across the ontology. Biomedical ontologies are developed and used to provide annotation and integration of scientific data within particular fields of science and medicine, and facilitate data analysis through their careful curation and logical structure. My work in biomedical ontology is strongly informed by my earlier experience in laboratory research in immunology, genetics, molecular biology, and virology.
My research group works on ontologies for both basic and clinical applications, in collaboration with researchers both at UB and other institutions:
The Cell Ontology —
As a Project Leader for the Cell Ontology, I have led efforts to revise and extend the Cell Ontology, which is intended to represent in vivo cell types from across biology. In recent years we have worked extensively on the ontology to bring it up to community-accepted standards in ontology development and have placed particular emphasis on improving the representation of hematopoietic cells and neurons. Our work on nervous system cell types is ongoing, and we are developing ways to use the Cell Ontology in support of the analysis of expression data linked to cell types.
The Neurological Disease Ontology —
We have recently begun work on creating an ontology to represent clinical and basic aspects of neurological diseases, with the intention of supporting translational research in this area. In collaboration with colleagues in the Jacobs Neurological Institute at UB, we are initially focusing on Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, Multiple Sclerosis, and Stroke.
Other Ontology Projects —
I am a long-term member of the Gene Ontology Consortium and have a particular interest in the representation of immunology and neuroscience in the GO. I am also involved in UB’s contribution to the Protein Ontology and contribute as well to the work of the Infectious Disease Ontology Consortium, Immunology Ontology Consortium, and Vaccine Ontology Consortium.