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 Project.
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
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 tasks.
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.