Nishant Shankar


pdf bib
SuMe: A Dataset Towards Summarizing Biomedical Mechanisms
Mohaddeseh Bastan | Nishant Shankar | Mihai Surdeanu | Niranjan Balasubramanian
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Can language models read biomedical texts and explain the biomedical mechanisms discussed? In this work we introduce a biomedical mechanism summarization task. Biomedical studies often investigate the mechanisms behind how one entity (e.g., a protein or a chemical) affects another in a biological context. The abstracts of these publications often include a focused set of sentences that present relevant supporting statements regarding such relationships, associated experimental evidence, and a concluding sentence that summarizes the mechanism underlying the relationship. We leverage this structure and create a summarization task, where the input is a collection of sentences and the main entities in an abstract, and the output includes the relationship and a sentence that summarizes the mechanism. Using a small amount of manually labeled mechanism sentences, we train a mechanism sentence classifier to filter a large biomedical abstract collection and create a summarization dataset with 22k instances. We also introduce conclusion sentence generation as a pretraining task with 611k instances. We benchmark the performance of large bio-domain language models. We find that while the pretraining task help improves performance, the best model produces acceptable mechanism outputs in only 32% of the instances, which shows the task presents significant challenges in biomedical language understanding and summarization.