Michael Ashburner on Scientific Research in Bioinformatics and Ontologism
  Michael Ashburner     Biography    
Recorded: 08 May 2008

Mila said I have two lives – and the other part is my bio-informatics and ontologism, that’s taking up, that probably takes up most of my time actually. Well we started, Suzy Lewis and Judy Blake and Mike Cherry and I started the Gene Ontology ten years ago. And that’s now, we had a meeting two weeks ago in Salt Lake City of the group, which makes up the Gene Ontology and we had probably thirty-five, forty people there. So it’s a big project and in some ways, because the Gene Ontology was designed to be used by different people, but then because it used by so many people we have this responsibility to keep it going, and responsibility, responsibility to improve it. So that takes up quite a lot of time. And, um, I’m still involved with fly base but not so much right now, I’m actually leaving fly base at the end of this year. I’ve been working on fly base now for almost twenty years so…

Michael Ashburner, a leader in Drosophila Genetics and bioinformatics, received his B.A. (1964), M.A. (1968), Ph.D. (1968) and Sc.D. (1978) from the University of Cambridge, where he is currently professor of Biology in the Department of Genetics and a Professional Fellow of Churchill College.

He has been the joint head of European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and was co-founder of Flybase, the primary online database for Drosophila genetics and molecular biology, the Gene Ontology Consortium, an effort to coordinate biological databases through a defined taxonomy of gene function, and the Crete Meetings, a bi-annual event focusing on the developmental and molecular biology of Drosophila melanogaster.

Among many honors, he is the recipient of the G.J. Mendel Medal (Czech Republic 1998) and the George W. Beadle Medal (Genetics Society of America 1999).

Michael Ashburner