The Seventh Annual Bio-ontologies Meeting

Organised by
Robert Stevens,Robin McEntire, Phillip Lord, and James.A.Butler

Location: Glasgow, Scotland.
Date: 30th July

Expected Publication Date: Dec, 2004


This years bio-ontologies workshop has now concluded. Copies of the speakers slides are available on the programme page. Several of the talks have now been published in Comparative and Functional Genomics


The Bio-Ontologies workshop has been a satellite meeting to the annual ISMB conference since 1998, and is now operated as a Special Interest Group at the ISMB Conference. Bio-Ontologies is well established as one of the key meetings for dissemination of latest information and research on ontologies in the life sciences and has drawn the key researchers in the field.

The number of ontologies in the Life Sciences field has grown considerably in the last few years. In that time, the efforts to develop bio-ontologies has also increased coverage of the Life Sciences domain. One of the most significant amongst these efforts is the annotation of biological data with semantics, e.g., the mark up of sequence data with terms for the Gene Ontology. In addition to Sequence data, we have also witnessed interest in, and development of ontologies for images, including photographs of animals, electron micrographs, micro-array chip images, all of which are fundamental to biological investigation. Also, there is important work being done on mechanisms for categorising, integrating and delivering image data which are critical to the process of deriving meaning from biomedical data.

After last year's highly successful theme of "Ontologies and Text Analysis", we will follow with the timely theme of "Ontologies and Bio-Images". Work is currently being done in the area of ontologies of images, especially in the domain of developmental biology and medicine. A prime example of this work is the Bio-Image databank, which makes extensive use of ontologies.

Our guest speaker for this year's topic will be Dr. David Shotton, who will talk about the use of ontologies within the BioImage database.

Registration is through the main ISMB conference.

We also invite the submission of abstracts for presentation along this theme. Suitable topics include, but are not restricted to:

  • The content of bio-images;
  • The technical origins of images
  • Support for image analysis (e.g., change in shape, colour, texture, etc.)

We wish, however, not to restrict the topics presented to the theme alone. So, we are also interested in:

  • Shared experiences in using ontology tools, development methodologies, comparing ontologies, and reusing other people's ontologies;
  • Current research in ontology languages and ontology exchange languages;
  • Updates on ontologies in development by members of the life sciences community, including genomics, proteomics and metabolomics
  • Practical uses of ontologies in research and drug discovery especially pre-competitive ontologies for the industry;

This year Comparative and Functional Genomics will publish selected presentations from the Seventh Annual Bio-Ontologies Workshop. Previously we have published Conference Reviews here. We are very pleased that last year's Workshop had enough substantial, high-quality work to enable such a special issue. We do, however, believe that a level of informality is critical to the success of this Workshop, and so we hope the meeting offers a venue for news and views, perhaps less developed, but up to the minute work. All are welcome!

This year's meeting will include a panel session, with the topic of "SWOT: the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to bio-Ontologies". The panel members are yet to be announced, but we aim to make the post-lunch session lively and invigorating to counter-act the effects of food and the Glasgow sunshine.