Lorentz Center - Foundations of Biomedical Knowledge Representation from 29 Oct 2012 through 2 Nov 2012
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    Foundations of Biomedical Knowledge Representation
    from 29 Oct 2012 through 2 Nov 2012


Description and aim



Medicine and healthcare are currently faced with a significant rise in their complexity. This is

partly due to the progress made during the past three decades in the fundamental biological

understanding of the causes of health and disease at the molecular, (sub)cellular, and organ

level. It is also partly caused by increased specialization of both biomedical research and

clinical practice, and greater involvement of policy makers in healthcare to control the costs.

Promises made by biomedical researchers that their research results will have clinical impact,

e.g. that cancer can be cured by immune therapy, have also increased expectations from

society about what healthcare is able to deliver. However, it is rarely the case that a discovery

at the molecular level has immediate consequences for the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

A major problem is that the progress made by the basic sciences increases the quantity of

information that one has to deal with when making decisions at the level of the patient or

healthcare in general. An additional problem is that this information arises from research at

different levels: from the molecular level, via the cellular level, at one end of the spectrum,

to the patient level at the other end. How to bridge these different levels is currently unclear

although it has given rise to the creation of yet another field: translational medicine. However,

even though there are huge differences in the techniques and methods used by biomedical

researchers, there is now an increasing tendency to share research results in terms of formal

knowledge representation methods, such as ontologies, statistical models, network models,

and mathematical models. To support health-care professionals making the best possible

decision, computer-based support based on such knowledge is now becoming increasingly

important. It may also be the only way to integrate research results from the different parts

of the spectrum of biomedical and clinical research.


Aims of the workshop

In this workshop, we aim to bring together researchers that are interested in knowledge repre-

sentations, reasoning and problem solving at different levels, ranging from biology to clinical

guidelines, and using different techniques, from probability theory and differential equations

to logic. While there exist interdisciplinary cooperation between the different fields, there is

a clear need for understanding the relationships of representation and reasoning among the

different communities. In this workshop, the ambition is to go a few steps further by exploring

the integration of different knowledge representation forms in biomedicine. In particular, we

will ask ourselves if is there a universal knowledge representation that will allow the shar-

ing of biomedical results. And if not, are there still lingua francas, languages that bridge

research areas, that allow the transfer of results from one field to the next? Where do we see

opportunities and what are the limitations?