Trevor Cohen, PhD

Professor, Department of Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education and Behavioral Health

Dr. Trevor Cohen is a Professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education, and an Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He received his PhD in biomedical informatics from Columbia University in New York, after training and practicing as a physician in South Africa. Motivated by his clinical interests, his doctoral work concerned the application of methods of automated text analysis to facilitate comprehension of clinical narratives in the domain of psychiatry. Dr. Cohen has developed a NIH-funded research program concerned with leveraging knowledge extracted from the biomedical literature for information retrieval and pharmacovigilance, and contributed toward large-scale national projects such as the Office of the National Coordinator’s SHARP-C initiative, which supported a range of research projects that aimed at improving the usability and comprehensibility of electronic health record interfaces.

 

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Dr. Cohen’s research focuses on the development and application of methods of distributional semantics – methods that learn to represent the meaning of terms and concepts from the ways in which they are distributed in large volumes of electronic text. He and his collaborators have applied the resulting distributed representations (concept or word embeddings) to a broad range of biomedical problems, including: (1) using literature-derived models to find plausible drug/side-effect relationships; (2) finding new therapeutic applications for known drugs (drug repurposing); (3) modeling the exchanges between users of health-related online social media platforms; and (4) characterizing aspects of psychiatric narrative that are pertinent to particular diagnostic constructs, such as psychosis.