About NCBO

The goal of the National Center for Biomedical Ontology is to support biomedical researchers in their knowledge-intensive work, by providing online tools and a Web portal enabling them to access, review, and integrate disparate ontological resources in all aspects of biomedical investigation and clinical practice. A major focus of our work involves the use of biomedical ontologies to aid in the management and analysis of data derived from complex experiments.

The Center is organized into these core components:

  • Computer science and biomedical informatics research
  • Infrastructure and Operations
  • Education & Dissemination
  • Administration 

The Center is truly a National Center, incorporating the expertise of leading investigators and technologists to provide a high-value national biomedical resource.

Organization of the Center

The Computer-science and biomedical informatics research is driven by Stanford University. (Team members during this program have included Mayo Clinic, University of Victoria, and University of Buffalo.) The computer-science research delivers tools for accessing and unifying ontologies, and concentrates on creating tools for using these ontologies to annotate large biomedical data sets, enabling data-set analysis and integration. BioPortal is the foremost of the tools delivered by NCBO, and has been established as the integrative hub for additonal related services.

The Infrastructure and operations activities establish and operate the extensive technology underpinnings of the project. With over 20 server instances and a sophisticated build, test, and monitoring pipeline, the Center serves tens of thousands of web visits and millions of API calls each month. The support team responds to user requests daily on the BIoPortal support email list, and delivers new system releases on a monthly basis, or as required for operational and development needs.

The Center achieves its objectives by advancing standards of good semantic and software development practice; by creating tools and theories that support a wide range of biological and semantic projects, collaborative research activities, and end user applications; and by training computational biologists, specialists in informatics, and computer scientists in the use of ontologies and of the Center’s technologies in support of their research.

The Center, originally formed as part of the National Centers for Biomedical Computing network, is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).