Ontology-supported research on vaccine efficacy, safety and integrative biological networks

Expert Rev Vaccines. 2014 Jul;13(7):825-41. doi: 10.1586/14760584.2014.923762. Epub 2014 Jun 7.


While vaccine efficacy and safety research has dramatically progressed with the methods of in silico prediction and data mining, many challenges still exist. A formal ontology is a human- and computer-interpretable set of terms and relations that represent entities in a specific domain and how these terms relate to each other. Several community-based ontologies (including Vaccine Ontology, Ontology of Adverse Events and Ontology of Vaccine Adverse Events) have been developed to support vaccine and adverse event representation, classification, data integration, literature mining of host-vaccine interaction networks, and analysis of vaccine adverse events. The author further proposes minimal vaccine information standards and their ontology representations, ontology-based linked open vaccine data and meta-analysis, an integrative One Network ('OneNet') Theory of Life, and ontology-based approaches to study and apply the OneNet theory. In the Big Data era, these proposed strategies provide a novel framework for advanced data integration and analysis of fundamental biological networks including vaccine immune mechanisms.

Keywords: adverse event; data mining; interaction network; literature mining; meta-analysis; ontology; theory; vaccine; vaccine efficacy; vaccine safety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Ontologies*
  • Brucella Vaccine / immunology
  • Computer Simulation
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Databases, Factual*
  • Drug Design*
  • Humans
  • Meningitis, Meningococcal / immunology
  • Meningitis, Meningococcal / prevention & control
  • Meningococcal Vaccines / immunology
  • Neisseria meningitidis / immunology
  • Vaccines / adverse effects*
  • Vaccines / immunology*
  • Vaccines / therapeutic use


  • 4CMenB vaccine
  • Brucella Vaccine
  • Meningococcal Vaccines
  • Vaccines