Towards an ontological representation of resistance: The case of MRSA

Albert Goldfain, Barry Smith, Lindsay G. Cowell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper addresses a family of issues surrounding the biological phenomenon of resistance and its representation in realist ontologies. The treatments of resistance terms in various existing ontologies are examined and found to be either overly narrow, internally inconsistent, or otherwise problematic. We propose a more coherent characterization of resistance in terms of what we shall call blocking dispositions, which are collections of mutually coordinated dispositions which are of such a sort that they cannot undergo simultaneous realization within a single bearer. A definition of 'protective resistance' is proposed for use in the Infectious Disease Ontology (IDO) and we show how this definition can be used to characterize the antibiotic resistance in Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The ontological relations between entities in our MRSA case study are used alongside a series of logical inference rules to illustrate logical reasoning about resistance. A description logic representation of blocking dispositions is also provided. We demonstrate that our characterization of resistance is sufficiently general to cover two other cases of resistance in the infectious disease domain involving HIV and malaria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-41
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomedical Informatics
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2011

Keywords

  • Basic Formal Ontology
  • Infectious Disease Ontology
  • MRSA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Informatics

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