Vanessa Lopez Garcia


Vanessa Lopez Garcia


Senior Research Scientist and Manager, AI for Health and Social Care, Master inventor


IBM Research Europe - Ireland Dublin, Ireland


Vanessa Lopez is a senior researcher scientist at IBM Research Ireland since 2012 and manager of the AI for Health and Social Care team.

My research interests are to investigate how technology can be made “smarter” to better understand human needs, and support us, as a society, to target complex problems. My research looks at semantics and knowledge graph representations to enhance NLP and learning technologies, applied to assist human experts, from protecting healthcare programs integrity, reducing disparities and improving the delivery of care for the most vulnerable , to most recently, using knowledge to enhance accelerated scientific discovery, to help experts reduce the search space of possible candidate solutions.

Research Experience

We look at research and core technologies that may help us accelerate scientific discovery by leveraging knowledge from diverse and multimodal sources, such as as scientific literature and human-curated large knowledge graphs, and create learned knowledge representations that can be used in various downstream tasks. For example, to build predictive and generative models for knowledge completion and candidate solution generation. This research can be explored for drug discovery, to use existent rich multimodal knowledge to enhanced learned protein and molecule knowledge representations ; or to find relevant features to accelerate clinical trials, for example to improve cohort diversity and engagement .

Our previous research has been applied to envision and develop applications in the Social and Health care domain, to support care professionals to take better informed decisions, and received various awards, including the 2017 US-Ireland Innovation from the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland and the Royal Irish Academy. Past projects include:

  • Team lead of a project for Program Integrity that uses healthcare policies to accelerate the creation of human and machine consumable healthcare policies, to support detecting fraud, waste and abuse on healthcare claim data (Projects: Claims Audit).
  • Cognitive analytics for patient-centric care: to support care professionals in capturing and interpreting the right information about an individual to take better informed decisions, based on structured and unstructured health records, as well as external open data and knowledge graphs. The system could capture highlights extracted from patients' case notes, identify missing information and / or actionable insights to ultimately obtain better outcomes for citizens (Projects: Notes Highlights for Watson Care Management, Cognitive Care Mentor)
  • QA over knowledge graphs: to support users in querying and exploring information, in particular by answering user queries pose in natural language, which required aggregating data across heterogeneous knowledge records and Web of Data sources and/or patient (Projects: BlueLENS, QuerioDALI, Link2Outcome)
  • Urban data management: a platform for harnessing urban and web data as knowledge, through a combination of semantic lifting and integration of tabular data and metadata coming from cities into knowledge graphs, as well as providing novel contextual & retrieval services on top for: spatial and semantic search, thematic exploration and linking data into multiple views, by making semantic connections across entities in different data sources explicit, in response to user needs (Projects: DALI, QuerioCity).

Before IBM, I was a research associate and a part-time PhD at KMi, Open University (2003-2011), where I got my doctorate. I was the project champion and main developer of AquaLog and PowerAqua, pioneering prototypes for Natural Language interfaces for the Semantic Web / Linked Data, published in in major international journals and conferences, and participated in various EU projects on the topics of IR, query disambiguation, ontology augmentation and semantic search. Prior to that I worked at the European Space Agency (ESA) (2002-2003) and graduated in 2002 (M.Sc) at the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) (1996-2002), where I carried out an internship as part of the AI department.

Recent Highlights:

  • Academic activities: PC/SPC @ ISWC, Web conference, ECAI, CIKM, Semantics, Hypertext, LREC, AAAI, SWJ, JWS, KAIS, JAIR, JIS, IPL, JBI, nature reports; Invited keynote speaker (EKAW2022, Semantics2021, Knowledge Connexions2020); Advisory board for WDAqua (Answering Questions using Web Data);
  • Co-chair Industry Track ESWC2019, ISWC2018, ESWC2015; Co-editor special issue in the Semantic Web Journal on knowledge graph construction, management and querying; co-organiser QALD-1 to QALD-6 Open Challenges on Question Answering over Linked Data; Editorial Board member for Journal of Web Semantics
  • IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Award 2022, 2020 and 2015; Data Science Profession Certification - Level 2 Expert ; Winner of 2017 US-Ireland Research Innovation Award and 2020 Finalist.
  • Patent Master Inventor 2022; IBM Tech 2023; ATE 2023
  • Computer World Interviews patents and extended interview (Spanish); Featured at People 4 Smarter Cities Improving HealthCare for the Most Vulnerable Populations and 2015 IBM annual Report Research Treating the Patient Rather Than the Problem With Cognitive
  • Supporting Open Source projects: zshot, HSPO, [Otter-Knowledge]

Projects highlighted in Medium: Otter Knowledge: Zshot:

LinkedIn Google Scholar publications
Research Gate publications
Previous publications @KMi




Top collaborators

Lam Hoang

Lam Hoang

Research Staff Member, Master Inventor