Monday, January 26, 2009

Duke and SUNY at Buffalo get grant to build ontology

The National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has awarded Duke University a $1.25 million grant to develop the Infectious Disease Ontology (IDO). SUNY at Buffalo receives a $250,000 subcontract under the award.

The goal of the grant is to create an ontology of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, and its related genes, proteins, capsule, pathophysiology, and diseases. If researchers from multiple institutions all encode their data using IDO, then they can combine their data sets more easily to generate new scientific knowledge.

The grant represents something of a novelty for the National Institutes of Health (one of which is NIAID), because it issues few grants or requests for proposals with a focus of ontology development. Congratulations to the researchers involved, and we wish them success, as their success could determine whether the NIH funds similar work.