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NMDC Community Conversations: Making Ontologies Work for Microbiome Research
Through the National Microbiome Data Collaborative’s Community Conversations series, the NMDC team invites the broader research community to join us to learn about the breadth of NMDC program activities and partnerships, engage in lively conversations with the NMDC team, and contribute feedback and ideas to inform the future directions of the NMDC.

This webinar will focus on the power of ontologies. With community engagement and input, ontologies can be powerful tools for inference and open data science. The speakers in this session will focus on how to make quality bidirectional relationships between biologists and ontologists to maximize the usability of ontologies such as EnvO and the Earth Microbiome Ontology.

Nov 3, 2021 11:00 AM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Chris Mungall
Staff Scientist @NMDC Leadership Team
Dr. Chris Mungall is a Staff Scientist in the Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology Division at LBNL, where he heads the Biosystems Data Science department. Chris’s research interests center around the capture, computational integration, and dissemination of biological research data, and the development of methods for using this data to elucidate biological mechanisms underpinning the health of humans and of the planet.
Kai Blumberg
Ontologist @The Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office (BCO-DMO)
Kai Blumberg is an Ontologist at the Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office (BCO-DMO) Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and a PhD candidate at the University of Arizona. He works on various open source ontologies to promote environmental data interoperability.
Ramona Walls
Associate Director of Data Science @The Critical Path Institute
Dr. Walls is Associate Director of Data Science at the Critical Path Institute, where she leads the Semantics, Ontologies, and Metadata team. Her research focuses on semantic data integration, ontology design, and management of large and dispersed datasets. Walls is a board member and active contributor to the Genomics Standards Consortium, a founding member of the OBO Foundry Operations Committee, and has contributed to multiple OBO ontologies.
Thomas Sharpton
Associate Professor @Oregon State University
Dr. Thomas Sharpton’s research seeks to determine if recent changes in human lifestyle and exposure have disrupted the gut microbiome’s contribution to physiology. To address the complexity of this problem, his research team develops and employs high-throughput systems biology tools – including computational, experimental, and analytical methods – that rapidly disentangle the mechanisms through which the gut microbiome links to and drives health.