Deborah Stacey

Headshot of Deb Stacey
Associate Professor Emerita
School of Computer Science
REYN 3301

Education and Employment Background

Dr. Deborah Stacey received her PhD from the University of Waterloo in 1990. She held a position as Visiting Scientist at the University of Washington, Regional Primate Research Center in 1994 and again in 1998. Stacey joined the School of Computer Science at the University of Guelph in 1988 where she is now an Associate Professor and the Principal Investigator of the Guelph Ontology Team.

Research Themes

As the Principal Investigator of the Guelph Ontology Team (GOT), Stacey is interested in the development, use, and analysis of knowledge engineering and machine intelligence techniques (particularly ontologies—properties of a subject area and how they are related defined through a set of concepts/categories). The main theoretical focus of GOT is on data-driven ontology evaluation and the development of ontologies for simulation parameters. Stacey’s research has important applications for animal disease simulation, biomedical data analysis, data collection, digital humanities, and food informatics. Key areas of focus include:

  1. Quality and Trust semantics. Quality and Trust semantics is the knowledge that characterizes how well a given compositional unit performs and other metrics which distinguish if certain compositional units are suitable for a given system composition. Trust is a major aspect of user expectations that cannot be ignored in the development of ontologies. Stacey seeks to use this knowledge and semantics of trust and quality to develop a library system of ontologies that will facilitate discovery of appropriate families of related ontologies that can then be reused for various applications.
  2. The structure of relationships between different ontologies in an ontology driven computational systems (ODCS). These relationships will influence the effectiveness and will also define the ability for maintenance providers to allow for successful integration of new ontologies, new knowledge instances, and the updating and/or versioning of existing ontologies.
  3. Metrics to evaluate the ontologies developed for sample ODCSs. The prototype ODCSs have been selected for their ability to differentiate the various aspects of ontology development and maintenance that underlie this research program. The main emphasis will be on the development of a comprehensive suite of evaluation metrics and methodologies for verification and validation of workflows.


  • Nominated for Women of Distinction Award in the Science Category, YWCA/YMCA , 2007, 2008
  • President’s Distinguished Professor Award, 2000
  • Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant, 2003, 2008
  • Editor, Proceedings of the High Performance Computing Symposium, 2005
  • Site Leader for SHARCNET, assisting in planning for future of high performance computing consortium

Media Coverage

Animal disease pathways

Food contamination research

Awards and accolades