Request for Information (RFI): HLBS Ontology Inventory

Notice Number: NOT-HL-05-114

Key Dates
Release Date: April 5, 2005
Response Date: June 3, 2005

Issued by
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), (

This Request for Information (RFI) is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation for applications or as an obligation on the part of the government. The government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the government's use of that information.



A bio-ontology is an ordered representation of biological information, which includes the name (or vocabulary) of the element (molecule, protein, clinical measure, etc.), a description of the element, and how the various elements in a particular group are related. The ability to classify and relate elements, or ontology-based knowledge representation, can facilitate electronic approaches to data sharing, querying, integration, and exploration. This in turn should stimulate the translation of data into knowledge. When an ontology is shared by a scientific community, it can accelerate collaboration, sharing, and understanding of individual data collections. An ontology can also serve as a means to allow integration of disparate but related data, such as gene and protein expression, biochemical markers, and physiological, histological, and clinical measures. The development and dissemination of a useful bio-ontology is key to all data collections, whether data is generated from a molecular biology experiment or a multi-center clinical trial.

Bio-ontology development is underway in a variety of partnerships such as the Alliance for Cell Signaling (, the Gene Ontology project (, the Biomedical Informatics Research Network (, the Cancer Bioinformatics Grid (, and the National Health Information Infrastructure ( program. A common goal is developing semantic frameworks for consistent descriptions of biomedical data, biological processes, anatomical structures, and clinical terminology that can be electronically interpreted and exchanged. The breadth and pace of biomedical research will be facilitated by activities such as the National Centers for Biomedical Computing Center for Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside ( and the Open Biological Ontology ( for the dissemination of coordinated resources. Bio-ontological resources expand the potential scope of scientific discovery and stimulate interest in strategies that crosscut traditional biomedical research domains.

The NHLBI is interested in receiving information on existing bio-ontological resources, platforms for bio-ontology development, and ontology-coupled data resources that are relevant to heart, lung, blood, and sleep research (see

Information Requested

Investigators developing ontologies and ontological resources relevant to HLBS research are invited to provide the NHLBI with information about their activities, and may do so at The online form will accept information such as:

This information will be used for future planning, and a summary report of the information submitted will be disseminated on the NHLBI website (


Please submit responses to by June 3 , 2005. Alternatively, responses may be sent by email to or by letter or fax to the following address:

NHLBI/DHVD Data Coordinator
c/o Ms. Tawanna Meadows
Two Rockledge Centre
6701 Rockledge Drive
Suite 9044, MSC 7940
Bethesda, MD 20892-7940
Telephone: (301) 435-0513
FAX: (301) 480-1335

Acknowledgement of receipt of responses will not be made, nor will respondents be notified of the government's assessment of the information received. No basis for claims against the government shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or the government's use of such information as either part of our evaluation process or in developing specifications for any subsequent announcement. Responses will be held in a confidential manner. Any proprietary information should be so marked.

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