Prototyping & Evaluating an Intelligent System To Link Symptoms, Diseases, Naturopathic Solutions, Foods & Lifestyles - BC-354

Preferred Disciplines: Computer Science & Information Technology, Artifical Intelligence, Human-Computer Interaction, One of: Nutrition or Naturopathy or General Medicine or Pharmacy. The above can be at Masters’ or Doctoral or Post-Doc Levels 
Project length: 

Artifical Intelligence, 1 Intern, 4 to 12 months (1-2 internships)

Computer Science | Programming,  1 Interns, 4 to 12 months (1-2 internships)

Ontology, 1 Intern, 4 to 12 months (1-2 internships)

Nutrition and Naturopathy Research, 2 Interns, 8 to 24 months (2-4 internships)

Desired start date: As soon as possible. 
Location: Coquitlam, BC
No. of Positions: 5
Preferences: Any reputable, accredited University. Language: English
Company: NA

About Company:

We are a distribution company that provides B2B and B2C sales throughout the North America.  We currently sell 810,000 SKUs of health and medical products, assistive devices, incontinence supplies, wheelchairs and mobility equipment, dining bath & toileting aids, daily living aid products, medical technology devices, safety products, emergency preparedness goods and other wellness related goods. 

Our products also include health and home care including medical and hospital equipment, supplies, uniforms, splinting supplies and equipment, treatment furniture for clinics, modalities such as Hydrotherapy, fluid-therapy, electrotherapy equipment, exercise equipment, orthopedics supplies and equipment, clinical evaluation products, rehab supplies, supplies and equipment for the law enforcement agencies, fire departments and EMS, and home care medical equipment.

Project Description:

We have a Responsive website that correlates 1,000+ symptoms to diseases.  One can name the disease, see its symptoms or select symptoms & see diseases that share those symptoms.   Once disease is named, system shows a recommended Naturopathic solution, foods to eat and avoid, lifestyles to do and don’t. 

  • Nutrition, Naturopathy, General Medicine or Pharmacy:

We have spent 7 years reviewing published material and what we deemed to be reliable sources of information that link Symptoms, Diseases, Naturopathic Solutions, Foods & Lifestyles (“Naturopathy relationships”). 

We need interns from the fields of Nutrition or Naturopathy or General Medicine or Pharmacy to research and identify all of the reliable web locations where such peer-reviewed or scholarly articles are published, then define how the “Naturopathy relationships” can be machine extracted for up to date delievry to our users.  The interns need to extract the content for our site (or provide external links if copyright restrictions exist), update citations and ensure that the posted content and the links remain live.  We need to add safety information and appropriate advisories for use of each product for each disease.

  • Artifical Intelligence & Usability Research: 

We’d like an intelligent system to scan the internet  and find all peer-reviewed or scholarly published articles that have studied the “Naturopathy relationships” then firstly provide those references for our readers, and secondly bring those articles to the attention of our Administrator so that he may constantly update and improve our content. 

Many users have disabilities such as vision impairments (e.g. blindness, poor eyesight, color blindness); motor/mobility impairments (e.g. difficulty or inability to use the hands, tremors, muscle slowness, Parkinson's Disease, muscular dystrophy, stroke). We want the system to be accessible and available in multi-languages and work with voice recognition.  Ultimately we’d like to turn this into a machine-based clinical investigator that uses query fragments through natural language-driven interactions.

For first phase of handling the multi-lingual aspect, we plan to use Google Translate (and Baidu in case of China) to generate a machine translation of our Naturopathy site using Neural Machine Translation (NMT).  We can load the latest translations into our site for later human review & translation improvement.  We have built a translation module that allows translators from around the world to translate our products and send it for checking by a checker.  We’d like the translation system to be imrpoved so that it offers the NMT version of the translation to the translator and allows them to then improve the translation further. The system must learn the best translation of words, phrases and sentences and create a growing dedicated lexicon and propose the use of the stored content to human translators. Each time a naturopathy relation is changed, the translation must be updated. 

We would like to add a feature that allows the Administrator to utilize the knowledge and feedback of our users to improve our content.  Users should be able to offer a content improvementor or report an error.

  • Ontology:

Our website users searching for symptoms or diseases often do not know the correct/exact name of the symptom or the disease.  We need a more sophisticated search function that allows the user to perform exploratory searches and find the correct name of the intended symptom or disease.  An auto-complete feature currently exists on our site, which must be improved.  We have sister-names for all diseases and symptoms but we can use an improved version. Perhaps using the WordNet® or UMLS Terminology Services maybe a viable basis for a solution.

Background and required skills

Research Objectives/Sub-Objectives:

  • Identify & use the latest knowledge on accessibility (including voice recognition) to improve the site and maximize ease of use for all users including those with diabilities
  • Incorporate Google translate (and Baidu in case of China) to offer the best available machine translations of our site and then allow human translation improvements using the machine translation as the base starting point
  • Create a dedicated concordance & ontology that improves the ability of a user to identify & name symptoms or diseaaes correctly.  Study and recommend the use of an ontology tool such as the UMLS Terminology Services that can be a viable basis of such ontology
  • Identify the most likely customers of the Naturopathy site, and possible revenue generation using the site, then create a marketing plan to maximize revenues


  • To be discussed with Research Interns & Internship Supervisors

Expertise and Skills Needed:

  • Expertise in PHP Coding, knowledge of UI/UX design best practices, familiarity with use of voice recognition in websites and front end technologies such as HTML, Javascript, CSS
  • Knowledge of search engines and medical ontology in search functions
  • Expertise in Nutrition, Naturopathy, Pharmacy or General Medicine


For more info or to apply to this applied research position, please

  1. Check your eligibility and find more information about open projects.
  2. Complete this webform. You will be asked to upload your CV. Remember to indicate the title of the project(s) you are interested in and obtain your professor’s approval to proceed!