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Guergana Savova

Assistant Professor, Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Principal Investigator, Clinical Natural Language Processing Program

Dr. Guergana Savova's research interests are in natural language processing (NLP) especially as applied to the text generated by physicians (the clinical narrative). This is usually referred to as clinical NLP. She has been creating gold standard annotated resources based on computable definitions and developing methods for computable solutions. The focus of Dr. Savova's research is higher level semantic and discourse processing of the clinical narrative which includes tasks such as named entity recognition, event recognition, relation detection and classification including coreference and temporal relations. The methods are mostly machine learning spanning supervised, lightly supervised and completely unsupervised.

The result of Dr. Savova's research with her collaborators has led to the creation of the clinical Text Analysis and Knowledge Extraction System (cTAKES; http://sourceforge.net/projects/ohnlp/files/cTAKES/),  which has been released as an open source application under an Apache license. cTAKES is an information extraction system  comprising of a number of NLP components. cTAKES has been applied to a number of biomedical use cases to mine the data within the clinical narrative such as i2b2, PGRN and eMERGE to name a few. Within the Integrating Informatics and Biology to the Bedside (i2b2), cTAKES has been used to extract patient characteristics for determining their status related to a specific phenotype (Multiple Scleroris, Inflamatory Bowel Disease, Type 2 Diabetes). Within the Pharmacogenomics Research Network (PGRN), cTAKES has been applied to automatically determine patient's disease activity and detect responders versus non-responders to a specific treatment. Within the Electronic Medical Record and Genomics (eMERGE), cTAKES has been applied to automatically discover patients with Peripheral Arterial Disease.

Among some of Dr. Savova's NLP collaborators are Profs. Martha Palmer, James Martin and Wayne Ward from University of Colorado, Prof. Wendy Chapman from University of California at San Diego, Prof. Noemie Elhadad from Columbia University, Drs. Lynette Hirschman, Cheryl Clark and John Aberdeen from the MITRE Corporation, Prof. James Pustejovsky from Brandeis University, Prof. Rebecca Crowley from University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Savova is the recipient of NIH funding for multiple projects which are listed separately on this website.

Dr. Guergana Savova is a reviewer for the Journal of the Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA), Journal of the Biomedical Informatics (JBI) and many conferences/workshops. She is also a member of the National Library of Medicine's Biomedical Library and Informatics Review Committee.

Dr. Guergana Savova holds a PhD in Linguistics with a minor in Cognitive Science and a Masters of Science in Computer Science from University of Minnesota. Before joining CHIP and HMS in 2010, Dr. Savova was member of the the Biomedical Statistics and Informatics Department faculty at the Mayo Clinic (2002-2010).

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