Infectious Disease Ontology (IDO)

Lindsay Cowell

Duke University Medical Center

The Infectious Disease Ontology (IDO) was initiated as part of the OBO Foundry with funding from the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund and from the NIAID. Its goal is to provide a common template for the creation of ontologies for families of diseases, pathogens, and vectors. The benefits of this template approach are that it allows for each of the ontologies to be developed by experts in the domain of a particular ontology while ensuring that the resulting ontologies and the data annotated in their terms are interoperable. In addition, providing a template reduces errors and allows the ontology developers to progress rapidly by reducing the false starts common to early stage ontology development.

IDO will be tested using data from Staphylococcus aureus (S.a.) infection, one of the most common and potentially deadly human infections, with the goal of predicting disease genes and drawing consequences for developing new sorts of patient-centered diagnosis and treatment. Other diseases being studied by the members of the IDO Consortium include malaria and other vector-borne diseases, tuberculosis, infective endocarditis, influenza and dengue fever. Dr. Cowell will outline the structure and goals of the IDO project, and the work of the IDO consortium. Further information on the initiative is available at