Şenay Kafkas, Text Miner in Literature Services

Şenay Kafkas, Text Mining Specialist

Şenay Kafkas is a text mining specialist in EMBL-EBI’s Literature Services Team, where she is working on biomedical text mining with a special focus on service provision. Şenay holds a PhD in Computer Science from Eastern Mediterranean University. In recent years her work has facilitated the development of several projects including the Europe PMC text-mining pipeline and the literature component for Open Targets. She is involved in supervising MSc and PhD projects and served as a referee for several scientific journals and conferences. 

Şenay Kafkas, Biomedical Text Mining Specialist at EMBL-EBI

Q&A with Şenay Kafkas

“There is not much scope for text mining in Cyprus. I had my heart set on a different life and work experience; I wanted to work in an international place and get to know other cultures.”

Q: What do you do at EMBL-EBI?

A: I am a text mining specialist in the Literature Services team of EMBL-EBI. My team runs and maintains the Europe PMC database, an archive of life-science literature. Our job is to make it easy for researchers to find articles and information they need. 

I contribute to the development of the text mining infrastructure of the database. My colleagues and I develop methods to annotate articles and design searches by indexing articles based on specific search fields. We are a service-oriented team and work closely with the users to make researchers’ lives easier.

Q: What is your professional background?

A: I did a PhD in computer engineering, specialising in biomedical text mining. I’ve been involved in various projects covering document classification and annotation of different semantic types, such as genes, drugs, diseases, and finding their associations in text (e.g. target-disease associations).

Q: Why did you choose EMBL-EBI?

A: I guess everyone who works in the biomedical domain has heard about the EBI. I knew that there were leading scientists and excellent supercomputing facilities here, which would make my job very different from working independently, by processing information on a local machine, like I used to.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working here?

A:  On a professional note, I like the fact that we provide services for the scientific community. I value interacting with users, understanding their changing needs and helping them access information in a faster and smarter way.

On a more personal note, I enjoy the dynamic and international working environment here. This gives me the opportunity to harmonise the things that I like about different cultures, which is something I would have never had a chance to do back home. 

Q: What advice would you give someone who was applying for a job here?

A: Find a job that reflects your interests and your personality, so that it’s approved by both your heart and your mind. Take risks when you are young so that you can find what you like doing as early as possible. Be brave – and this applies especially to women, who often tend to be more cautious in their approach to life.

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