Postdoctoral Opportunity: Semantic Reasoning for Biological Phenotypes

July 28, 2011

We seek a postdoctoral researcher in computational biology for Phenoscape.  This person will contribute to two important research strands within the project:

  1. Development of computational and statistical methodology for measuring semantic similarity between sets of phenotypes, in order to support searches within extremely large phenotype datasets.
  2. Development and testing of methods for automatically generating ontologically based phenotype expressions from structured excerpts of natural language.

The position is based in the informatics group at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent), and will be administered through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) under the supervision of Hilmar Lapp at NESCent and Dr. Todd Vision at UNC-CH.   The research will be in collaboration with Dr. Chris Mungall at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and Dr. Hong Cui at the University of Arizona.  The project also includes biologists and bioinformaticists from the University of South Dakota, the University of Chicago, the University of Kansas, in addition to the model organism databases for mouse (MGD), zebrafish (ZFIN), and Xenopus (Xenbase).

Applicants should have a PhD in bioinformatics, computational biology or a related field. Prior experience with machine reasoning using ontologies is strongly preferred. The position is for two years, pending satisfactory performance and availability of funds.  To apply, please provide a cover letter, CV, and contact information for three references.  Inquiries and applications may be sent to Hilmar Lapp at  The post is open immediately and will remain open until filled.

Lapp gives NCBO webinar for Phenoscape

November 17, 2010

Hilmar Lapp gave a great overview today of the ongoing work in the Phenoscape project to 29 participants in the NCBO Webinar series.  This series showcases new projects, technologies and ideas in biomedical ontology, many of which use ontologies for interoperability.  Hilmar presented the biological context (evolution, conservation, development, etc.) into which our work fits, and the challenges involved in representing phenotype.  A videorecording of his talk will be posted in case you missed it.

Update: The slides are also posted on Slideshare