Barry Smith PhD FACMI

Barry Smith

Barry Smith


Department of Biomedical Informatics

Specialty/Research Focus

Artificial Intelligence; Biomedical Informatics; Biomedical Ontology; Pain

Contact Information
104 Park Hall,
Department of Philosophy,
University at Buffalo
Buffalo, New York 14051-1739
Phone: 7166450160
Fax: 7166456139

Professional Summary:

Barry Smith is a prominent contributor to both theoretical and applied research in ontology, contributing especially in the biomedical domain. He is the author of some 500 publications on ontology, with some 48,000 citations and an h-index of 103. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the US, Swiss and Austrian National Science Foundations, the US Department of Defense, the Volkswagen Foundation, and the European Union. In 2002 he received the 2 million Euro Wolfgang Paul Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and in 2010 he was awarded the first Paolo Bozzi Prize in Ontology by the University of Turin.

Smith is SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy in the University at Buffalo (UB) and Affiliate Professor in the UB Departments of Biomedical Informatics and Computer Science and Engineering. He is also Director of the National Center for Ontological Research and national Co-Director of the Clinical and Translational Science Ontology Group (CTSOG). He has served as ontology lead for the NIAID ImmPort project, as lead for dissemination and ontology best practices for the National Center for Biomedical Ontology, as a Scientific Advisor to the Gene Ontology Consortium, and as a PI on the Protein Ontology and Infectious Disease Ontology projects.

Smith’s pioneering work on the science of ontology led to the formation in 2004 of the OBO (Open Biomedical Ontologies) Foundry, a suite of ontology resources designed to support information-driven research in biology and biomedicine. Basic Formal Ontology (BFO), the capstone ontology in the OBO Foundry suite, was approved in 2021 as international standard ISO/ICE 21838-2. It is now used by some 500 ontology development groups around the world.

Education and Training:

  • PhD, Philosophy, University of Manchester (1976)
  • MA, Mathematics and Philosophy, Oxford University (1975)
  • BA, Mathematics and Philosophy, Oxford University (1973)


  • Director, Philosophy, National Center for Ontological Research (2002-present)
  • Distinguished Professor, Philosophy, University at Buffalo (1994-present)
  • Director, UB Center for Brain and Behavior Informatics (CBBI) (2009–2012)
  • Professor, International Academy for Philosophy (1989–1994)
  • Professor, Philosophy, University of Manchester (1979–1989)
  • Post Doctoral Fellow, Philosophy, University of Sheffield (1976–1979)

Awards and Honors:

  • Wolfgang Paul Award (2022)
  • Paolo Bozzi Prize (2010)
  • Carl Linnaeus Lecturer (2005)
  • SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship (2002)
  • Fellow of the American Philosophical Society (1999)
  • Fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics (FACMI)

Research Centers:

  • Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences
  • Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC)

UB 2020 Strategic Strengths:

  • Health and Wellness Across the Lifespan
  • Information and Computing Technology

Grants and Sponsored Research:

  • August 2015–March 2019
    Clinical and Translational Science Award: Buffalo Clinical and Translational Research Center
    National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences
    Role: Co-Investigator
  • January 2017–July 2018
    Coordinated Holistic Alignment of Manufacturing Processes
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • October 2012–September 2017
    Bioinformatics Integration Support Contract
    Role: Principal Investigator

Journal Articles:

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School News:

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Contact Information

104 Park Hall,
Department of Philosophy,
University at Buffalo
Buffalo, New York 14051-1739
Phone: 7166450160
Fax: 7166456139