Prof Robert Stevens - research


Research interests

My research has followed a theme of the computer science associated with managing and using complex information in inter-disciplinary settings, from early research into presenting complex information in audio to blind people, through research into tools for data analysis in e-Science to my principle research area in biomedical semantics.

Within my biomedical ontology research I have led the ontology building and use within the school as one vertex of a virtuous triangle of ontology language fundamentals, tool development and ontology development and use. I have published the first papers on semantic similarity using bio-ontologies, the use of bio-ontologies to query multiple distributed information sources, to discover new proteins through classification, and to publish discovery of new biological facts in a high impact biology journal from the use of Semantic Web technologies.

This research into semantically describing and managing biomedical data has had a counterpart in my activity within e-Science research. I led the user activity of the Taverna Workflow Workbench (led by Carole Goble) in analysis of biomedical data. I was first author on the first paper to mention workflow within bioinformatics; the lead author on the first paper to use workflows to demonstrate an automation of biological analysis and a supervisor (with Andy Brass) of Paul Fisher, who developed novel methods for analyzing gene expression data that has led to insights into tolerance to trypanosomiasis in East African cattle.

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