About the FoodOn Consortium

Hsiao Lab initiated a search for a standardized food vocabulary in 2015 to support routine surveillance and outbreak analysis of foodborne pathogens, and quickly realized a new robust ontology needed to be developed for this purpose. Other curators within academia and the OBOFoundry.org community, having parallel needs for agriculture, nutritional analysis and  food science research, quickly joined the consortium.

Founding members

  • William Hsiao and Damion Dooley (Simon Fraser University Centre for Infectious Disease Genomics and One Health) and Fiona Brinkman and Emma Griffiths (Simon Fraser University Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry) are involved in the IRIDA.ca project with a focus on ontology of food-borne pathogen related (genomic) epidemiology.
  • Pier Luigi Buttigieg (Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung) is developing environmental ontologies (ENVO) and semantics for sustainable development. These domains include the semantics of food production, security, and composition.
  • Robert Hoehndorf (King Abdullah University), a key proponent of the Aber-OWL.net project, is researching chemical exposure with respect to diet and health.
  • Matthew Lange (IC-Foods) brings a focus on food science and the technology and policy implications of next generation food systems.
  • Lynn Schriml (University of Maryland School of Medicine) is engaged in research on developing bioinformatic tools, metadata standards and ontologies (including the Disease Ontology) to gain a broader understanding of the relationship between infectious pathogens, their genomic sequence and disease.


  • Damion Dooley, Emma Griffiths, Anoosha Sehar, Rhiannon Cameron from partner organization the Centre for Infectious Disease and One Health (CIDGOH)
  • Diane Alexander brings ontology experience in corporate operations, and serious wine expertise.
  • Magalie Weber provides In-kind curation support on behalf of partner organization the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment (INRAE).
  • Lauren Chen, involved with the Monarch Initiative and Oregon State University, focuses on dietary studies and nutritional epidemiology.
  • Hande Küçük McGinty of Ohio State University has a mandate to finesse vocabulary involving nutritional analyses and food categories.


Past and current funding for FoodOn development has been provided through a variety of agency grants.