AI2’s search engine gets a biomedical boost

AI2's Marie Hagman
AI2’s Marie Hagman drew upon person experience during her work on Semantic Scholar. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

As senior product manager at Seattle’s Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, or AI2, Hagman played a key role in figuring out how to incorporate documents from PubMed and other biomedical databases in the academic search tool.

She drew upon her personal experience from 15 years earlier, when she was a software engineer suffering from two stomach ulcers and gastritis. Her specialist gave her a prescription to deal with the issue, but told her she’d probably have to keep taking pills for the rest of her life.

“I was thinking, ‘Hmm … I’m young and healthy. That just doesn’t sound right,’” Hagman recalled. “They still couldn’t tell me why I had this problem. So I decided to be my own advocate.”

She searched through the medical literature on stomach ulcers, and found a study in which researchers pointed to a type of bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori as a potential cause. Armed with that knowledge, she persuaded another specialist to put her on a two-week round of antibiotics.

“I’ve been cured ever since,” Hagman told GeekWire.

Now her objective is to help researchers, and even regular folks, find the most relevant studies that address the medical questions they want to answer.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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