My primary research interest is distributed biomedical informatics systems, including the integration of data and computational biomedical models, particularly spatio-temporal data integration (biomedical atlases).
As part of my secondment to the MRC Human Genetics Unit I work on integration of the Edinburgh Mouse Atlas and similar spatio-temporal frameworks. A lot of this research includes biomedical ontologies, particularly anatomy ontologies.
Having mostly focused on the Life Sciences in the past, increasingly my research now crosses over into the medical domain (eHealth). Specifically, linking to spatio-temporal clinical data.
Working in an interdisciplinary field, my activities deal with the knowledge transfer of the latest computational techniques into usable tools for the biomedical end users. This is underpinned by Computer Science research, such as knowledge representation of biomedical data, reasoning over distributed resources and using argumentation systems for dealing with inconsistent biomedical data. Semantic Web technologies play a key role in my work
Following a BSc in Computer Science from the Fachhochschule Augsburg, Germany in 1988, I received a Fulbright Scholarship for the USA, where I then obtained an MSc in Computer Science from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1991. I received a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Edinburgh in 1996. I became a Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at Heriot-Watt University in 1995 and a Senior Lecturer in 2004. Since 2001 I am also seconded part-time to the MRC Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh as a Biomedical Informatics Scientist.
My research initially focused on distributed concurrency control algorithms, but following the completion of my PhD increasingly moved into Biomedical Informatics. At Heriot-Watt University I founded the Biomedical Informatics Systems Engineering Lab (BISEL) which I am now heading.