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.
She also has interests in (a) teaching communication skills to scientists and engineers (including visual communication of data, poster design, presentation design), (b) reproducible research and responsible conduct of research, (c) safety and transparency in the healthcare system.