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1.  Automatic extraction of angiogenesis bioprocess from text 
Bioinformatics  2011;27(19):2730-2737.
Motivation: Understanding key biological processes (bioprocesses) and their relationships with constituent biological entities and pharmaceutical agents is crucial for drug design and discovery. One way to harvest such information is searching the literature. However, bioprocesses are difficult to capture because they may occur in text in a variety of textual expressions. Moreover, a bioprocess is often composed of a series of bioevents, where a bioevent denotes changes to one or a group of cells involved in the bioprocess. Such bioevents are often used to refer to bioprocesses in text, which current techniques, relying solely on specialized lexicons, struggle to find.
Results: This article presents a range of methods for finding bioprocess terms and events. To facilitate the study, we built a gold standard corpus in which terms and events related to angiogenesis, a key biological process of the growth of new blood vessels, were annotated. Statistics of the annotated corpus revealed that over 36% of the text expressions that referred to angiogenesis appeared as events. The proposed methods respectively employed domain-specific vocabularies, a manually annotated corpus and unstructured domain-specific documents. Evaluation results showed that, while a supervised machine-learning model yielded the best precision, recall and F1 scores, the other methods achieved reasonable performance and less cost to develop.
Availability: The angiogenesis vocabularies, gold standard corpus, annotation guidelines and software described in this article are available at http://text0.mib.man.ac.uk/~mbassxw2/angiogenesis/
Contact: xinglong.wang@gmail.com
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btr460
PMCID: PMC3179660  PMID: 21821664
2.  Disambiguating the species of biomedical named entities using natural language parsers 
Bioinformatics  2010;26(5):661-667.
Motivation: Text mining technologies have been shown to reduce the laborious work involved in organizing the vast amount of information hidden in the literature. One challenge in text mining is linking ambiguous word forms to unambiguous biological concepts. This article reports on a comprehensive study on resolving the ambiguity in mentions of biomedical named entities with respect to model organisms and presents an array of approaches, with focus on methods utilizing natural language parsers.
Results: We build a corpus for organism disambiguation where every occurrence of protein/gene entity is manually tagged with a species ID, and evaluate a number of methods on it. Promising results are obtained by training a machine learning model on syntactic parse trees, which is then used to decide whether an entity belongs to the model organism denoted by a neighbouring species-indicating word (e.g. yeast). The parser-based approaches are also compared with a supervised classification method and results indicate that the former are a more favorable choice when domain portability is of concern. The best overall performance is obtained by combining the strengths of syntactic features and supervised classification.
Availability: The corpus and demo are available at http://www.nactem.ac.uk/deca_details/start.cgi, and the software is freely available as U-Compare components (Kano et al., 2009): NaCTeM Species Word Detector and NaCTeM Species Disambiguator. U-Compare is available at http://-compare.org/
Contact: xinglong.wang@manchester.ac.uk
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btq002
PMCID: PMC2828111  PMID: 20053840

Results 1-2 (2)