Integrating Neuroscience Data on the Semantic Web

The sheer amount and diversity of neuroscience data over the past few decades has made it very difficult to impossible for an individual to hold a comprehensive view of what we know about the central nervous system. About six years ago when I learned about the Semantic Web, a set of Web-based technologies that together enable the use of machine intelligence across the Internet, it seemed the ideal platform to help carry out the synthesis of neuroscience data. Best of all, Semantic Web technologies are an open set of standards defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The paper “Semantic SenseLab: Implementing the vision of the Semantic Web in neuroscience” (published January 2010 in Artificial Intelligence in Medicine) reports on one of the efforts to integrate neuroscience data which is associated with the SenseLab data repository.

SenseLab has been mentioned many times on this blog. We’ve especially seen and used ModelDB, which is the neuroscience computer model repository in SenseLab (see Other related blog posts below). In fact, SenseLab is currently composed of eight data repositories including CellPropDB, NeuronDB, ModelDB, MicrocircuitDB, ORDB, OdorDB, OdorMapDB, and BrainPharm. In this paper, the SenseLab team shows how they integrate the SenseLab data with diverse outside data sources using Semantic Web technologies. Probably the most useful parts of the work for others is the set of Web Ontology Language (OWL) based ontologies created for SenseLab which are available for anyone to download and study.

Other related blog posts:

Brain Modeling Using NEURON, Interneurons, and Resonant Circuits

Brain Modeling Using NEURON: Superficial Pyramidal, Deep Pyramidal, Aspiny, and Stellate Neurons

Brain Modeling Using NEURON: Neural Activity Underlying Magnetoencephalography

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