Modern research is producing vast amounts of data, hypotheses, and theories. It is becoming clear that a thorough understanding of complex biological processes such as cognition, evolution, and development requires the integration of data and hypotheses from many different types of experiments, research groups, disciplines, and data repositories. However, such a broad integration can hardly be achieved by the intellects of single researchers, and information technology has become indispensable in doing modern biological research. In my talk, I will describe strategies for utilizing the next generation of web technologies to increase the global speed of scientific progress in neuroscience and cognitive science. I will describe the basic principles of Semantic Web and Linked Data technologies and how they can assist biological research. I will also describe basic principles of ontologies in biomedical research, discussing the impact that philosophy of biology can have on practical applications ("industrial-strength philosophy"). I will present my ongoing work on creating a new version of the KLI Theory Lab, a knowledge base and web portal hosted by the KLI, and how this resource can be aligned with other resources such as the Comparative Mind Database.
Matthias Samwald is a postdoctoral researcher at the KLI and DERI Galway (Galway, Ireland), and is a member of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). He studied experimental neurobiology at the University of Vienna and at the Medical University of Vienna. His doctoral thesis was focused on employing Semantic Web technologies in neuroscience and biomedicine. He worked for the Yale Center for Medical Informatics (US), the Yale Department of Neurobiology (US), Science Commons (US) and the Semantic Web Company (Austria). The major aim of his work is the transdisciplinary synthesis of biology, medicine, informatics, and philosophy, as well as bridging the gap between fundamental academic research and practical, industrial applications. Selected publications Ruttenberg A, Rees JA, Samwald M, Marshal S (in press) Life sciences on the semantic web: The neurocommons and beyond. Briefings in Bioinformatics. Ruttenberg A, Clark T, Bug W, Samwald M, Bodenreider O, Chen H, et al. (2007) Advancing translational research with the Semantic Web. BMC Bioinformatics 8 Suppl 3: S2. doi:1471-2105-8-S3-S2.