Professor Alan Rector
Alan Rector is Professor of Medical Informatics in the School of Computer Science at University of Manchester. He received his BA in Philosophy and Mathematics from Pomona College, his medical training at the universities of Chicago and Minnesota where he obtained his MD, and his PhD in Medical Informatics from the University of Manchester.
Over the past twenty-five years he has led a series of projects on clinical decision support, medical records, and medical terminology including the ground breaking PEN&PAD project on intelligent medical records sponsored jointly by the UK Medical Research Council and Department of Health.
During the 1990s his work focused on medical terminology
and ontologies. He led the EU sponsored GALEN programme (www.opengalen.org)
and the Department of Health sponsored UK Drug Ontology
His work on clinical terminology and ontologies provided
a key stimulus for the technologies underpinning the use
of ontologies for the Semantic Web. Increasingly his
work has focused on the development and application of the
Web Ontology Language, OWL, and the Protege-OWL
ontology development environment. Much of this work was
supported by the JISC/EPSRC funded CO-ODE and HyOntUse
projects. Protege-OWL has been developed
collaboratively with the Stanford Center for
Biomedical Informatics Research. The
Manchester team is particular pleased with the development
of the new Protege-4-OWL
editor, which supports the new OWL
2 specification and includes many new features to
make developing ontologies quicker and easier.
Protege-4-OWL is based on the new OWL API also
developed in Manchester.
He currently leads two industrial collaborations using
OWL to enhance clinical systems. One is with Siemens
Medical Solutions - Health Service of the US, on knowledge
driven clinical systems. The other is with Informatics CIS
of Glasgow, on adaptable forms for pre-anaesthesia
assessment and other specialised information gathering
This work leads back to a concern with methodologies for
using OWL and other Semantic Web technologies effectively
in practical applications and the relationship between OWL
and object-oriented and frame based modelling systems.
From 2002 to 2008 he led the MRC sponsored Cooperative
Clinical E-Science Framework (CLEF) consortium of UK
universities and NHS trusts that aimed to provide "joined
up" information solutions for clinical care and
research. He also participated in the EU-funded Semantic
Mining Network of Excellence and Semantic Health
He has been a visiting senior scientist at Stanford University and consultant to the NHS and Connecting for Health, Hewlett Packard, the Mayo Clinic, and a variety of smaller companies. He has been active in various national and international commities including, the JISC Support of Research Committee, the National Cancer Research Institute's Informatics Initiative, the Joint NHS/Higher Education Forum on Informatics, and the Board of the Academic Forum of the UK Institute for Health Informatics. He has also been active in HL7, the main standards body for health informatics, and on the board of HL7-UK.
In 2003, Professor Rector was awarded the first British Computer Society Health Informatics Committee award for lifetime service to Health Informatics.