Data generated from cancer nanotechnology research are so diverse and large in volume that it is difficult to share and efficiently use them without informatics tools. In particular, ontologies that provide a unifying knowledge framework for annotating the data are required to facilitate the semantic integration, knowledge-based searching, unambiguous interpretation, mining and inferencing of the data using informatics methods. Here, we discuss the design and development of NanoParticle Ontology (NPO), which is developed within the framework of the Basic Formal Ontology (BFO), and implemented in the Ontology Web Language (OWL) using well-defined ontology design principles. The NPO is developed to represent the knowledge underlying the description, preparation, and characterization of nanomaterials in cancer nanotechnology research.
 NPO representation of a nanoparticle

Authors and support

This ontology was primarily developed by Dennis Thomas in collaboration with Nathan Baker and Rohit Pappu.  This development was supported by the NIH through grants U54 CA119342 and U54 HG004028.

Currently, the NCI caBIG Nanotechnology Working Group  supports the development and use of the NanoParticle Ontology.

Citing the NPO

Please acknowledge your use of the NPO by citing

Thomas DG, Pappu RV, Baker NA.  NanoParticle Ontology for Cancer Nanotechnology Research.  J Biomed Inform, in press.  doi:10.1016/j.jbi.2010.03.001.

NPO JIRA tracker


Public releases of the NPO are available through BioPortal website, maintained by the National Center for Biomedical Ontology.

The latest developmental versions of NPO can be obtained from https://github.com/sobolevnrm/npo

 NPO Representation of a 'nanoparticle formulation'




Related projects

Please see the Related projects page.