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The Ontology Research Group (ORG) is a central and significant part of the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences. ORG researchers have many years of experience in ontology research in a variety of disciplines, ranging from the critical review and reconstruction of what people refer to as 'ontologies' and ontology-based applications in the biomedical domain, to creating and maintaining software like the Referent Tracking System, to supporting natural language processing and other applications in scientific domains.

The ORG currently has three sub-units:

  • The Ontology, Logic and Technology Unit (OLT) is engaged in foundational ontology research and content development, especially in the biomedical domain;
  • The Referent Tracking Unit (RTU) carries out applied research and software development pertaining to electronic health records and other data resources in the biomedical domain;
  • The Qualitative Spatiotemporal Reasoning Unit (QSR) is applying ontological techniques derived from qualitative spatiotemporal reasoning and the field of Geographic Information Systems in order to improve the representation of canonical anatomy, as well as the processing of X-ray, MRI, and other forms of image and signal data.

The VISION of the ORG is to assist scientific researchers, especially biomedical researchers, in providing a single, cumulative, and algorithmically processable database of information in their respective scientific domains.

The MISSION of the ORG is to realize this vision by supporting researchers in the creation and application of high-quality domain ontologies that enable efficient translational research and optimal clinical care.

The term 'ONTOLOGY' has a number of meanings.


The ORG collaborates with a number of centers, projects, departments, consortia, and industries so as to fulfill its vision and mission. Some of the collaborators can be found below.

  • National Center for Ontological Research

  • OBO Foundry Project

  • The University at Buffalo


  • RIDE

  • Industrial Collaborations

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    ORG researchers are playing leading roles in a number of national and international ontology research consortia, and they have organized a wide variety of ontology training and dissemination events. The ORG is constantly involved in the organization and participation of workshops, conferences, colloquia, and other events, some of which can be found below.

  • Ontology Dissemination Events


    The competence, collaboration, and collegiality of the ORG Directors set the tone for a cohesive group of cutting-edge researchers.

    Werner CeustersWerner CEUSTERS

    Louis GOLDBERG

    Barry SMITH


    ORG researchers actively publish, teach, and mentor in their respective areas of specialization, bringing a breadth of knowledge and experience to the group.


    Administrative matters of the ORG are handled expeditiously and competently by Sandra Smith.

    Sandra Smith

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