Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Computer Science


Computer Science


College of Engineering


Paul Anderson

Advisor Department

Computer Science

Advisor College

College of Engineering


The amount of data and analysis being published and archived in the biomedical research community is more than can feasibly be sifted through manually, which limits the information an individual or small group can synthesize and integrate into their own research. This presents an opportunity for using automated methods, including Natural Language Processing (NLP), to extract important information from text on various topics. Named Entity Recognition (NER), is one way to automate knowledge extraction of raw text. NER is defined as the task of identifying named entities from text using labels such as people, dates, locations, diseases, and proteins. There are several NLP tools that are designed for entity recognition, but rely on large established corpus for training data. Biomedical research has the potential to guide diagnostic and therapeutic decisions, yet the overwhelming density of publications acts as a barrier to getting these results into a clinical setting. An exceptional example of this is the field of breast cancer biology where over 2 million people are diagnosed worldwide every year and billions of dollars are spent on research. Breast cancer biology literature and research relies on a highly specific domain with unique language and vocabulary, and therefore requires specialized NLP tools which can generate biologically meaningful results. This thesis presents a novel annotation tool, that is optimized for quickly creating training data for spaCy pipelines as well as exploring the viability of said data for analyzing papers with automated processing. Custom pipelines trained on these annotations are shown to be able to recognize custom entities at levels comparable to large corpus based recognition.