ICBO_2018_41: Formalizing the Representation of Immune Exposures for Human Immunology Studies

TitleICBO_2018_41: Formalizing the Representation of Immune Exposures for Human Immunology Studies
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsVita, R, Peters, B, Overton, J, Cheung, K-H, Kleinstein, S
Conference NameInternational Conference on Biomedical Ontology (ICBO 2018)
Date Published08/06/2018
PublisherInternational Conference on Biological Ontology
Keywordsdisease, Exposure, Immunology, Standardization

Human immunology studies typically examine how immune exposures associated with vaccinations, infectious, allergic or autoimmune diseases, or transplantations perturb the immune system with the goal to develop diagnostic tools and therapeutic interventions. While there are established approaches to formally represent the experimental data generated in such studies, which often comprises gene expression data, flow cytometry data, or serology data, the description of the immune exposures themselves is not well standardized. We here present a formal approach to represent immune exposures at a high level of granularity. We capture the exposure process (e.g. ‘vaccination’ or ‘occurrence of allergic disease’), exposure material (e.g. ‘Tdap vaccine’ or ‘House dust mite’), and the associated disease name and stage (e.g. ‘allergic rhinitis’ and ‘chronic’). This representation scheme has been used successfully in the IEDB and an extended version has been adopted by HIPC to capture studies in ImmPort. We are reporting here on this scheme, our ongoing attempts to map the terms used to existing ontologies, and the challenges encountered.