Architecting an OWL based Enterprise Conformance and Compliance Registry at the National Cancer Institute




The National Cancer Institute has long been a supporter of the ontology community and a user of Protégé to maintain the NCI thesaurus. In the next generation of the semantic infrastructure, the National Cancer Institute is widening its use of semantic Web standards and tools and is contributing back to the community with new tools and services.

In this talk we will go over the history of the use of ontologies at the NCI in the management of it's vocabulary resources and discuss the new terminology services and semantic infrastructure to support the NCI Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology. As part of the Semantic Infrastructure Version 2 roadmap, the enterprise conformance and compliance framework will be an owl-based metadata registry with the ability to classify and test conformance of new metadata artifacts using description logic and to link all artifacts within the metadata registry in context.

The NCI is evaluating tools for value set construction in owl formats, and and is investing in the development of a set of tools for the conversion of HL7 artifacts automatically to owl ontologies, thereby allowing the automated expression of the next versions of the Biomedical Research Integrated Domain Group (BRIDG) Model. The BRIDG model is a collaborative effort engaging stakeholders from the Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC), the HL7 Regulated Clinical Research Information Management Technical Committee (RCRIM TC), the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and its Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG™), and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The BRIDG model is an instance of a Domain Analysis Model (DAM). The goal of the BRIDG Model is to produce a shared view of the dynamic and static semantics for the domain of protocol-driven research and its associated regulatory artifacts.  A joint domain analysis model for clinical trials developed by the NCI, FDA, CDISC, and HL7.

We will also discuss some of the unexpected benefits of structuring the BRIDG model in owl which will lead to improvements in open-source reasoner's.



Dr. Lynch is an assistant professor in pathology informatics at the University of California at Davis. He completed his M.D. degree and a residency in obstetrics and gynecology with an oncology emphasis at the University of California at Los Angeles. He subsequently was in private practice for more than 10 years in the Sacramento area before earning a Master of science degree in medical informatics at the University California at Davis in 2003. Dr. Lynch joined the faculty at UC Davis Medical School in Medical Informatics and has served in several roles including past chair of the graduate group in informatics. His area of interest has been in decision-support and leveraging ontology in that realm.

He teaches courses on knowledge engineering and services-based enterprise architecture to the graduate students at UC Davis. He currently has the role as the Chief Semantic Architect at the National Cancer Institute where he is participating in the design of the next generation semantic infrastructure.

Dr. Lynch is also the principal of a software engineering company called OntoReason that specializes in knowledge engineering and enterprise architecture for the federal health architecture and large integrated hospital systems. In this role his team has built the ontology based National surveillance System for Tuberculosis at the CDC and is currently extending this ontology driven surveillance paradigm to H1N1.

Current Activities:
2010 - Present Chief Semantic Architect, National Cancer Institute
2010 - Present National Cancer Institute BRIDG Board of Directors
2008 - Present HHS appointed National Science Advisor to the National Center for Public Health Informatics
2008 - Present HITSP Population Health Standards Committee CDC representative for Decision Support and Case definition modeling
2008 - Present HHS Appointed National Science Advisor, National Biosurveillance Advisory Sub-committee
2008 - Present Member, HL7 Architectural Review Board
2007 - Present Executive Committee Chair, Biosurveillance, Homeland Security/HHS Joint Task Force for Critical Clinical and Public Health Infrastructure Protection -
2006 - Present Member and Consulting Expert, European Union Centers for Disease Control Knowledge Management Workgroup advising on ontology based Semantic Infrastructure