Newsstand Menu

NCGR, CSHL, and TIGR announce NSF funding for semantic web development for plant biologist

Santa Fe, NM, September 29, 2005 — The National Center for Genome Resources (NCGR), announced today a $1.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a Virtual Plant Information Network (VPIN), in collaboration with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), Cold Spring Harbor, NY, and The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), Rockville, MD. The VPIN will be the first large-scale implementation of a semantic information network for biological research.

Today, vast amounts of information are dispersed across a wide variety of web sites. There are not, however, broadly-accepted standards across these sites for computers to automatically search and retrieve this data on a high-throughput basis. Computer programs must be tailored individually to each site. Because of this, researchers expend considerable effort finding, retrieving, and transferring biological information between web sites.

The VPIN will greatly advance semantic web development for biologists by allowing multiple plant information web sites to associate their data and services with publicly accessible ontologies—classification systems that relate concepts and definitions with an underlying system of relationships—thereby improving the accuracy of descriptions of web data and services. This accelerates discovery and facilitates use of information by researchers.

The VPIN is an extension of previous NSF-funded semantic web development (, and of the recently announced Legume Information Network.

Written By: Public Affairs | | 516-367-8455

About the National Center for Genome Resources
NCGR is a non-profit research institute dedicated to improving human health and nutrition through collaborative research at the intersection of bioscience, computing and mathematics. NCGR has established a reputation for developing software that addresses the growing need to access, integrate and analyze research results generated at different locations, times, and with disparate biotechnologies.

About The Institute for Genomic Research
TIGR is a non-profit research center dedicated to deciphering and analyzing genomes. Since 1992, TIGR has been a genomics leader, conducting research critical to medicine, agriculture, energy, the environment, and biodefense.

About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology. Home to eight Nobel Prize winners, the private, not-for-profit Laboratory employs 1,100 people including 600 scientists, students and technicians. The Meetings & Courses Program annually hosts more than 12,000 scientists. The Laboratory’s education arm also includes an academic publishing house, a graduate school and the DNA Learning Center with programs for middle and high school students and teachers. For more information, visit