Computer science undergraduates conduct natural language processing research at Johns Hopkins University

Rachel Dorn and Andriy Mulyar
Rachel Dorn and Andriy Mulyar

Rachel Dorn, a post-baccalaureate certificate student in computer science, and Andriy Mulyar, a senior in the computer science department, are participating in Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Research Education for Undergraduates (REU) internships this summer.

Both are working with Mark Dredze, Ph.D., the John C. Malone Associate Professor of computer science. Dredze is a specialist in natural language processing, with a focus on applications in social media analysis and public health. Dorn and Mulyar are advisees of Bridget McInnes, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science at VCU.

Dorn is collecting and analyzing social media data from mental health patients to build a dashboard to help their therapists provide effective treatment. The project builds on previous research classifying social media data by mental health diagnosis, “but the application of this research for clinicians is a relatively unexplored area, which is very exciting,” she said. “My experience conducting research with VCU's natural language processing lab provided me with the skillset I need for the internship.”

Mulyar is collaborating on the construction of automated neural systems to map unstructured text in clinical notes and electronic health records to medical knowledge bases. This project is part of a larger effort to harness unstructured medical databases to improve patient healthcare and automate the planning of clinical trials.

“My experience working in clinical information extraction under Dr. Bridget McInnes, along with a machine learning project in DURI [Dean’s Undergraduate Research Initiative] under Dr. Bartosz Krawczyk, prepared me to be an independent researcher and excel in fast-paced laboratory environments,” he said.