Karin Verspoor


My name is Karin Verspoor. Welcome to my site.

I am Professor in the University of Melbourne's School of Computing and Information Systems. I am currently Deputy Head of the School, as well as Deputy Director of the Health and Biomedical Informatics Centre.

I was previously a Principal Researcher at National ICT Australia's Victoria Research Lab. I served as the Scientific Director for the Health and Life Sciences Business Area within NICTA. I also headed a research group in Biomedical Informatics within Health and Life Sciences that was primarily focused on data- and text-mining of clinical texts and the biomedical literature.

I had moved to NICTA and Australia in December 2011 from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, where I was a Research Assistant Professor in the Center for Computational Pharmacology and Faculty on the Computational Bioscience Program. I am still involved with supervising a student there.

My current research is focused on building tools to support biological discovery and clinical decision support. I specifically work on methods that enable the use of the biomedical literature for improving biomedical data analysis. My projects have included enabling concept and event extraction from biomedical text and construction of linguistic resources to support biomedical text mining. I also have a particular interest in doing protein function prediction from text. I originally developed methods for this in the context of the 2003/2004 BioCreAtIvE evaluation and am continuing to pursue this in my active work. 

My background is in computational linguistics, which aims to build software that tries to "understand" the meaning conveyed by text at some level. This is sometimes called natural language processing or natural language understanding. My CL research has focused primarily in the interaction of linguistic processing with world knowledge (usually represented in some sort of hierarchical, ontological structure), and the implications of this for the representation of linguistic knowledge, specifically at the lexical level.

In my free time, I enjoy relaxing with my husband Vicente and our 3 daughters, socializing with family and friends, and traveling.