Wright Center Scholar Presents at NIH’s National Library of Medicine

Amy Olex presents a poster on her opioid NLP project in November.

Amy Olex, senior bioinformatics specialist at the Wright Center, presented her research to top scientists and leadership of the National Institute of Health on Feb. 20 at the institute’s library in Bethesda.

Olex introduced NIH researchers to her three clinical natural language processing (NLP) projects: one identifying opioid overdoses in the emergency department, a second identifying common challenges student interns face in order to refine curricula, and a third extracting temporal information from clinical texts.

Olex, who joined the Wright Center in 2014, was invited to speak by the director of the National Library of Medicine after she presented at the Medical Informatics Association’s 2019 Annual Symposium in Washington, D.C., in November.

As part of her presentation, Olex met with researchers from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, like Dr. David Landsman and Dr. Zhiyong Lu, the deputy director for literature search. And she met with representatives from Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, like Dr. Dina Demner-Fushman, Dr. Asma Ben Abacha and James Mork.

This is the first lecture Olex has been invited to present outside of VCU and at a prestigious location. Olex noted that opportunities like these to create face-to-face connections with other institutions are crucial to her research and to advancing the Wright Center’s mission.

Olex specializes in processing next-generation genomic sequencing data and is currently developing a pipeline to process the first single cell RNA-Seq data generated by a VCU Health researcher. She also leads bioinformatics and NLP seminars and workshops, and is the lead in a new Wright Center collaboration with Chicago’s CTSA to use NLP methods to improve surveillance of the opioid epidemic.

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