Kirk Roberts, PhD, MS

Assistant Professor

Kirk Roberts, Ph.D., M.S. joined the UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics on April 16, 2016 as an assistant professor. He has previously conducted research in natural language processing (NLP) in academia, government, and industry. His research work includes using NLP to both extract structured information from unstructured free text and create interactive natural language applications, such as question answering systems and search engines. He actively performs research in clinical information extraction, spatial information extraction, question answering, and information retrieval. His research draws inspiration from fields as diverse as medicine, linguistics, data science, and machine learning. Roberts is also the primary organizer of the TREC Clinical Decision Support track and a recipient of a National Library of Medicine Career Development Award.

“There is a tremendous amount of biomedical data generated every day,” said Roberts. “To be useful, that data must be available to researchers, health professionals, and consumers, and biomedical informatics is at the core of this dissemination process. So much of that data is in natural language because this is how we as humans prefer to communicate. Systems that understand medical language are therefore crucial to leverage all this data to advance health and healthcare.”

Contact

Kirk.Roberts@uth.tmc.edu
Phone: 713.500.3653
Fax: 713.500.3929

Staff Support

Blanca Torres
Phone: 713.486.0114

Education

  • PhD, 2013, Computer Science, University of Texas at Dallas
  • MS, 2009, Computer Science, University of Texas at Dallas
  • BS, 2005, Computer Science, Georgia Institute of Technology

Areas of Expertise

  • Natural Language Processing
  • Question Answering
  • Clinical Information Extraction
  • Spatial Information Extraction
  • Medical Information Retrieval

Funding

  • Natural Language Question Understanding for Electronic Health Records
    NIH R00 LM012104-02 (PI – Kirk Roberts)
    05/01/2016 – 04/30/2019

Publications

Journal Articles

  1. Roberts, K., Boland, M.R., Pruinelli, L., Dcruz, J., Berry, A., Georgsson, M., Hazen, R., Sarmiento, R.F., Backonja, U., Yu, K-H., Jiang, Y., Brennan, P.F. Biomedical Informatics advancing the national health agenda: the AMIA 2015 year-in-review in clinical and consumer informatics. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.
  2. Roberts, K. & Demner-Fushman, D. (2016). Interactive use of online health resources: A comparison of consumer and professional questions. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 23(4).
  3. Roberts, K., Simpson, S., Demner-Fushman, D., Voorhees, E., & Hersh, W. (2016). State-of-the-art in biomedical literature retrieval for clinical cases: A survey of the TREC 2014 CDS Track. Information Retrieval Journal, 19:1.
  4. Roberts, K., Shooshan, S.E., Rodriguez, L., Abhyankar, S., Kilicoglu, H., & Demner-Fushman, D. (2015). The role of fine-grained annotations in supervised recognition of risk factors for heart disease from EHRs. Journal of Biomedical Informatics.
  5. Roberts, K., Rink, B., & Harabagiu, S. (2013). A flexible framework for recognizing events, temporal expressions, and temporal relations in clinical text. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 20.
  6. Roberts, K. & Harabagiu, S. (2012). Detecting New and Emerging Events in Streaming News Documents. International Journal of Semantic Computing, 5:4.
  7. Rink, B., Roberts, K., & Harabagiu, S. (2012). A supervised framework for resolving coreference in clinical records. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 19.
  8. Roberts, K. & Harabagiu, S. (2012). Statistical and Similarity Methods for Classifying Emotion in Suicide Notes. Journal of Biomedical Informatics Insights, 5 (Suppl. 1).
  9. Roberts, K. & Harabagiu, S. (2011). A flexible framework for deriving assertions from electronic medical records. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 18.
  10. Rink, B., Harabagiu, S., & Roberts, K. (2011). Automatic extraction of relations between medical concepts in clinical texts. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 18.

Conference & Workshop Papers

  1. Roberts, K., Rodriguez, L., Shooshan, S.E., Demner-Fushman, D. Resource Classification for Medical Questions. Proceedings of the AMIA Annual Symposium, 2016.
  2. Shin, H-C., Roberts, K., Lu, L., Demner-Fushman, D., Yao, J., Summers, R.M. Learning to Read Chest X-Rays: Recurrent Neural Cascade Model for Automated Image Annotation. IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2016.
  3. Roberts, K. & Demner-Fushman, D. (2016). Annotating Logical Forms for EHR Questions. Proceedings of the Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC).
  4. Kilicoglu, H., Ben Abacha, A., M’Rabet, Y., Roberts, K., & Demner-Fushman, D. (2016). Annotating Named Entities in Consumer Health Questions. Proceedings of the Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC).
  5. Roberts, K., Simpson, M.S., Voorhees, E., & Hersh, W.R. (2015). Overview of the TREC 2015 Clinical Decision Support Track. Proceedings of the Text Retrieval Conference (TREC).
  6. Roberts, K., Rodriguez, L., Shooshan, S.E., & Demner-Fushman, D. (2015). Automatic Extraction and Post-coordination of Spatial Relations in Consumer Language. Proceedings of the American Medical Informatics Association Annual Symposium (AMIA).
  7. Kilicoglu, H., Fiszman, M., Roberts, K., Demner-Fushman, D. (2015). An Ensemble Method for Spelling Correction in Consumer Health Questions. Proceedings of the American Medical Informatics Association Annual Symposium (AMIA).
  8. Roberts, K., & Demner-Fushman, D. (2015). Toward a Natural Language Interface for EHR Questions. Proceedings of the AMIA Summit on Clinical Research Informatics (AMIA-CRI).
  9. Roberts, K., Kilicoglu, H., Fiszman, M., & Demner-Fushman, D. (2014). Automatically Classifying Question Types for Consumer Health Questions. Proceedings of the American Medical Informatics Association Annual Symposium (AMIA).
  10. Roberts, K., Cahan, A., & Demner-Fushman, D. (2014). Error Propagation in EHRs via Copy/Paste: An Analysis of Relative Dates. Proceedings of the American Medical Informatics Association Annual Symposium (AMIA), Poster Session.
  11. Roberts, K., Kilicoglu, H., Fiszman, M., & Demner-Fushman, D. (2014). Decomposing Consumer Health Questions. Proceedings of the ACL Workshop on Biomedical Natural Language Processing (BioNLP).
  12. Roberts, K., Harabagiu, S. & Skinner, M. (2014). Structuring Operative Notes using Active Learning. Proceedings of the ACL Workshop on Biomedical Natural Language Processing (BioNLP).
  13. Roberts, K., Masterton, K., Fiszman, M., Kilicoglu, H., & Demner-Fushman, D. (2014). Annotating Question Decomposition on Complex Medical Questions. Proceedings of the Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC).
  14. Roberts, K., Masterton, K., Fiszman, M., Kilicoglu, H., & Demner-Fushman, D. (2014). Annotating Question Types for Consumer Health Questions. Proceedings of the LREC Workshop on Building an Evaluating Resources for Health and Biomedical Text Processing (BioTxtM).
  15. Roberts, K., Skinner, M., & Harabagiu, S. (2013). Recognizing Spatial Containment Relations between Event Mentions. Proceedings of the International Conference on Computational Semantics (IWCS).
  16. Rink, B., Roberts, K., Harabagiu, S., Scheuermann, R., Toomay, S., Browning, T., Bosler, T., & Peshock, R. (2013). Extracting Actionable Findings of Appendicitis from Radiology Reports Using Natural Language Processing. Proceedings of the AMIA Summit on Clinical Research Informatics (AMIA-CRI).
  17. Roberts, K., Rink, B., Harabagiu, S., Scheuermann, R., Toomay, S., Browning, T., Bosler, T., & Peshock, R. (2012). Identifying Anatomical Locations of Actionable Findings in Radiology Reports. Proceedings of the American Medical Informatics Association Annual Symposium (AMIA).
  18. Roberts, K. & Harabagiu, S. (2012). Locational Relativity and Domain Constraints in Spatial Questions. Proceedings of the ACM SIGSPATIAL Conference.
  19. Roberts, K. & Harabagiu, S. (2012). UTD-SpRL: A Joint Approach to Spatial Role Labeling. Proceedings of the International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval).
  20. Goodwin, T., Roberts, K., Rink, B., & Harabagiu, S. (2012). Cohort Shepard II: Verifying Cohort Constraints from Hospital Visits. Proceedings of the Text Retrieval Conference (TREC).
  21. Goodwin, T., Rink, B., Roberts, K., & Harabagiu, S. (2012). UTDHLT: COPACETIC System for Choosing Plausible Alternatives. Proceedings of the International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval).
  22. Roberts, K., Goodwin, T., & Harabagiu, S. (2012). Annotating Spatial Containment Relations Between Events. Proceedings of the Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC).
  23. Roberts, K., Roach, M., Johnson, J., Guthrie, J., & Harabagiu, S. (2012). EmpaTweet: Annotating and Detecting Emotions on Twitter. Proceedings of the Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC).
  24. Goodwin, T., Rink, B., Roberts, K., & Harabagiu, S. (2011) Cohort Shepard: Discovering Cohort Traits from Hospital Visits. Proceedings of the Text Retrieval Conference (TREC).
  25. Roberts, K. & Harabagiu, S. (2011). Detecting New and Emerging Events from Textual Sources. Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Semantic Computing (ICSC).
  26. Roberts, K. & Harabagiu, S. (2011). Unsupervised Learning of Selectional Restrictions and Detection of Argument Coercions. Proceedings of the Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP).
  27. Roberts, K. & Harabagiu, S. (2010). UTDMet: Combining WordNet and Corpus Data for Argument Coercion Detection. Proceedings of the International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval).
  28. Roberts, K., Gullapalli, S., Bejan, C.A., & Harabagiu, S. (2010). A Linguistic Resource for Semantic Parsing of Motion Events. Proceedings of the Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC).
  29. Nicolae, C., Nicolae, G., & Roberts, K. (2010). C-3: Coherence and Coreference Corpus. Proceedings of the Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC).
  30. Roberts, K., Bejan, C.A., & Harabagiu, S. (2010). Toponym Disambiguation using Events. Proceedings of the Florida Artificial Intelligence Research Society International Conference, Applied NLP Track (FLAIRS).
  31. Roberts, K. (2009). Building an Annotated Textual Inference Corpus for Motion and Space. Proceedings of the ACL-IJCNLP Workshop on Applied Textual Inference.
  32. Roberts, K. & Hickl, A. (2008). Scaling Answer Type Detection to Large Hierarchies. Proceedings of the Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC).
  33. Hickl, A., Roberts, K., Rink, B., Bensley, J., Jungen, T., Shi, Y., & Williams, J. (2007). Question Answering with LCC’s Chaucer-2 at TREC 2007. Proceedings of the Text Retrieval Conference (TREC).
  34. Hickl, A., Roberts, K., & Lacatusu, F. (2007). A Machine Reading Approach to Update Summarization. Proceedings of the Document Understanding Conference (DUC). Kirk Roberts 5
  35. Hickl, A., Williams, J., Bensley, J., Roberts, K., Shi, Y., & Rink, B. (2006). Question Answering with LCC’s Chaucer at TREC 2006. Proceedings of the Text Retrieval Conference (TREC).
  36. Lacatusu, F., Hickl, A., Roberts, K., Shi, Y., Bensley, J., Wang, P., Rink, B., & Taylor, L. (2006). GISTexter at DUC 2006: Multi-Strategy Multi-Document Summarization. Proceedings of the Document Understanding Conference (DUC).
  37. Hickl, A., Williams, J., Bensley, J., Roberts, K., Rink, B., & Shi, S. (2006). Recognizing Textual Entailment with LCC’s Groundhog System. Proceedings of the PASCAL Recognizing Textual Entailment Challenge.