Ontolog Forum

Hilmar Lapp

I am a biologist by training, but I have also more than two decades worth of experience developing various informatics tools and resources, ranging from commercial applications to real-time scientific data acquisition software, to bioinformatics data integration systems, standards, and ontologies. My research interests are in reusable and interoperable software and data, large-scale data integration, and in building open, sustainable eScience infrastructure.

I am a PI of the NSF-funded project on creating a model and standard for phyloreferencing, and I am also a PI of Phenoscape (, specifically its current project SCATE ( (also NSF-funded), on ontological annotation of evolutionary phenotype observations. I also serve as co-convener of the Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) Interest Group on Phylogenetics Standards.

Before joining Duke's Center for Genomic and Computational Biology (GCB), I was at the US National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent), where I initiated many of NESCent's cyberinfrastructure initiatives aimed at grass-roots building of community capacity. While at NESCent, I was one of the co-founders of Data Carpentry, and was part of the team that conceived and started Dryad (, a digital data repository for data underlying scholarly publications. Before NESCent, I worked for almost 10 years in functional genome informatics in the biopharmaceutical sector, where among other things I built SymAtlas, one of the first decidedly gene-centric database integrating genome annotation databases with gene function data.