NeuroLex (formerly BIRNLEX)

Filed under: Tools

Status: In production

NeuroLex is built from a core OWL ontology, originally built from BIRNLex, in a modular fashion, with separate modules covering major domains of neuroscience: anatomy, cell, subcellular, molecule, function and dysfunction. NeuroLex also includes detailed concepts for describing experimental techniques and instruments typically employed to carry out neuroscientific studies, as well as concepts for describing digital resources being created throughout the neuroscience community. Following best practices established by the Open Biological Ontology (OBO) community, NeuroLex reuses existing community ontologies that cover the required biomedical domains, building the more specific concepts required to annotate NIF resources as necessary. Each concept is accompanied by a human readable definition to facilitate the application of NeuroLex to data. Each distinct domain module is represented using the Web Ontology Language (OWL).

The latest information on NeuroLex is available at In order to expand the content of the NeuroLex, the Neuroscience Information Framework (NIF; is working with neuroscientists and others who have created terminology resources for neuroscience to incorporate them into the NIF. We are developing community tools for comment and extension, such as the NeuroLex Wiki, where you can find information on how to contribute to NeuroLex.

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BIRN is supported by NIH grants 1U24-RR025736, U24-RR021992, U24-RR021760 and by the Collaborative Tools Support Network Award 1U24-RR026057-01.