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2004 - Rong Xu

Would you trust a search engine to treat your illness or prescribe medication?  Perhaps not now, but perhaps you may very soon.  Rong Xu’s biomedical natural language processing and semantic search company, MedSemantics, is working to provide better answers to crucial medical questions for physicians, pharmaceutical companies, and individuals.

Rong partnered with two fellow Stanford students to found MedSemantics.  Their technology—based on Rong’s thesis research—extracts medical information from the web and presents it in a personalized and digestible form to patients, drug companies, and health organizations.  Unlike other search engines, or even medical sites, MedSemantics allows comparative studies between two drugs and their side effects, tailors results based on a patient’s genetics, and displays information in varying levels of detail and complexity depending on the user’s orientation.  The company was launched in October 2009 and already has a major health care provider that will begin testing the product in early 2010.

MedSemantics is a shift for Rong, who began her Ph.D. focused on health care policy, DNA sequencing, and gene exploration.  She shifted her research to machine learning, semantic search, and natural language processing so she can more quickly to bring her research to market.

Rong studied Biology at Peking University and has a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Stanford.  She says that being named a Siebel Scholar during her Master’s program gave her the added confidence to pursue her Ph.D. in Bioinformatics and to start her company.  She is finishing her Ph.D. in the spring of 2010 and will continue working with MedSemantics.