Melissa Clarkson PhD, MDes, MA


  • Multidisciplinary Science Building, room 230C
  • 859-323-7232

ORCID: 0000-0001-9979-176X


  • Biomedical ontologies
  • Information visualization
  • Human-centered design

Academic appointment

  • Assistant Professor, Division of Biomedical Informatics, Department of Internal Medicine


  • PhD in Biomedical and Health Informatics; University of Washington; Seattle, WA
  • MDes in Communication Planning and Information Design; Carnegie Mellon University; Pittsburgh, PA
  • MA in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology; University of Kansas; Lawrence, KS
  • BS in Biochemistry, Microbiology; Kansas State University; Manhattan, KS


Melissa Clarkson works at the intersection of informatics, design, and life sciences. The overarching goal of her work is to increase the understanding of data and knowledge generated within the life sciences. Her research has two areas of emphasis. The first addresses the gap between complex information and the people who need to understand it. This work in “human-information interaction” consists of understanding the information needs of researchers and clinicians, designing visualizations and interfaces, and evaluating the designs. Her second area of emphasis is the representation of information within systems. She studies how biomedical ontologies can be used to structure information and provide semantic consistency, as well as the role ontologies can play in making interfaces more useful and usable.

Publications and other works