Lexical Sleuthing: Mapping Research Interests

Since we first started in 2008, hundreds of abstracts have been submitted for the Arizona Physiological Society's Annual Meetings.  While the research interests of our members are quite diverse, there are a few standout words that provide clues to common themes.


Top 100 words (by frequency) from abstract submissions to the Annual Meeting (2008 to 2015).  The larger the text, the higher the frequency.  Common words (the, of, and, in, etc) have been removed.  Click to enlarge.


If we break down the numbers, here are the top 20 words that appear in titles and abstracts.  The number in parentheses represents the total times that word has appeared.

  1. Muscle (416)
  2. Mice (383)
  3. Cells (351)
  4. Expression (275)
  5. Increased (267)
  6. Protein (261)
  7. Cell (245)
  8. Compared (228)
  9. Study (209)
  10. Insulin (204)
  11. Significantly (187)
  12. Rats (178)
  13. Function (176)
  14. Levels (175)
  15. Signaling (175)
  16. Treatment (168)
  17. Titin (167)
  18. Receptor (164)
  19. Control (163)
  20. Exercise (161)

So, if this alone represented our members' collective research interest (it doesn't), we might summarize with...

Members in the Arizona Physiological Society conduct research focused predominantly on muscle.  Mice, rats, and cells are used to study the expression of protein (such as insulin and titin) which is compared between control and treatment (exercise for example).  Frequently, results indicate significantly increased levels of receptor signaling.  These studies provide valuable insight into the function of living systems.

Have a different "summary" based on the top 20 words?  Flex some creativity and post it in the comments below!

Dr. Kanady is a lecturer for the Department of Physiology at the University of Arizona.  You can connect with him on Twitter @JDKPhD.