What put you on the path to your current role?
I took a very roundabout way to get to my current role. My background prior to my PhD was more in biomedical engineering and medical physics. While working on a number of medical devices, I realized that data analysis and modeling was more interesting to me, which led me to pursue a PhD in biomedical informatics. While completing my graduate studies, I was increasingly fascinated with knowledge representation, ontologies for organizing complex biomedical concepts, natural language processing, and ways to integrate expert-curated knowledge with machine learning methods to improve our understanding of biological processes and drug discovery. At AI2, I am pursuing ways to extend ML and NLP methods to projects with potential broad impacts for biomedicine and clinical care.
What’s the most surprising or interesting thing that has happened with your work at AI2 recently?
I have been quite surprised at the quick progress made on one of my recent projects, SUPP.AI. This project, which was just a seed of an idea in my mind less than two months ago, was quickly prototyped during the AI2 annual hackathon, and has been developed into a feature-rich demo in such a short amount of time! It’s been really great working with a team of incredibly talented and competent individuals and creating something that will hopefully have far-reaching effects for researchers and healthcare consumers.
What are you looking forward to with your work this fall?
Certainly diving deeper into the Semantic Scholar corpus. As Semantic Scholar has increased the number of papers indexed, there’s just an enormous wealth of scientific information available for research. There’s a real opportunity to answer questions about the trajectory of science: how new scientific concepts emerge and evolve over time, how researchers decide on interesting questions, how to collect and synthesize evidence over many studies and articles, the list goes on. This fall, I’m looking forward to tackling some of these questions using a newly built citation and text dataset derived from Semantic Scholar.
One piece of advice you’d give an aspiring Young Investigator:
Have a plan. There are so many exciting projects and possibilities at AI2 that it can be challenging to focus on career eventualities. Pursuing new and exciting things is definitely encouraged, but it’s helpful to have a roadmap to help you get to where you want to be.
Most underrated activity or place in Seattle?
There are tons of wonderful places in and around Seattle, so this question is hard to answer. I’ll just list a couple of things/places I love but don’t get out to as often as I’d like: the Seattle Public Library main branch, Discovery Park’s West Point Lighthouse, Columbia City farmer’s market, hydroplane races at Seafair, and Postdoc Brewing in Redmond (technically not Seattle, but close enough).