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A photo of John P. Pestian.

Director, Computational Medicine Center

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



Biography & Affiliation


Dr. Pestian's lab focuses on developing advanced technology for the care of neuropsychiatric illness. Using artificial intelligence, his team integrates analyses of trait and state characteristics for early identification of both neurological and psychiatric illness. His lab developed and implemented an automated, electronic health record surveillance system that processes clinician notes to identify epilepsy surgery candidates up to two years earlier than traditional approaches. The lab also focuses on earlier identification of individuals at risk of suicide, depression, and bipolar and anxiety disorders using verbal and non-verbal language.

Current projects include fusion of linguistic, acoustic, and visual cues that are being tested in selected Cincinnati Public Schools and Cincinnati Children’s clinics. Dr. Pestian and his lab have 18 issued patents and he is active in the entrepreneurial community. This activity has yielded over 500 jobs and one-half billion in revenue have been created. One invention, Processing Text With Domain-Specific Spreading Activation Methods, is a platform for neuropsychiatric research. Another, Optimization and Individualization of Medication Selection and Dosing, has been used for optimal mental health drug selection on more than 420,000 people. He and his colleagues have published more than 80 peer reviewed publications that focus on applied and translational sciences apropos to artificial intelligence.

He currently mentors five junior faculty, of which three have recently received funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Pestian is an alumni of the NIH’s standing Study Section, Biomedical Library and Informatics Review Committee (BLIRC) of the National Library of Medicine, as well as the National Institute for Mental Health’s, Pathway to Independence (K99) study section.

Academic Affiliation

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics


Biomedical Informatics

Science Blog


BS: St. Francis College, Loreto, PA, 1981.

MA: University of Steubenville, Steubenville, OH, 1987.

PhD: Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, 1994.


Selected Publication

A Machine Learning Approach to Identifying the Thought Markers of Suicidal Subjects: A Prospective Multicenter Trial. Pestian, JP; Sorter, M; Connolly, B; Cohen, KB; McCullumsmith, C; Gee, JT; Morency, L; Scherer, S; Rohlfs, L; Grp, ST M R. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. 2017; 47:112-121.

A Controlled Trial Using Natural Language Processing to Examine the Language of Suicidal Adolescents in the Emergency Department. Pestian, JP; Grupp-Phelan, J; Cohen, KB; Meyers, G; Richey, LA; Matykiewicz, P; Sorter, MT. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. 2016; 46:154-159.

Methodological Issues in Predicting Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Candidates Through Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning. Cohen, KB; Glass, B; Greiner, HM; Holland-Bouley, K; Standridge, S; Arya, R; Faist, R; Morita, D; Mangano, F; Connolly, B; et al. Biomedical Informatics Insights. 2016; 8:BII.S38308-BII.S38308.

Assessing the similarity of surface linguistic features related to epilepsy across pediatric hospitals. Connolly, B; Matykiewicz, P; Cohen, KB; Standridge, SM; Glauser, TA; Dlugos, DJ; Koh, S; Tham, E; Pestian, J. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. 2014; 21:866-870.

Sentiment Analysis of Suicide Notes: A Shared Task. Pestian, JP; Matykiewicz, P; Linn-Gust, M; South, B; Uzuner, O; Wiebe, J; Cohen, KB; Hurdle, J; Brew, C. Biomedical Informatics Insights. 2012; 5s1:BII.S9042-BII.S9042.

Nebulized Ipratropium Decreases Hospitalization Rate of Children with Severe Asthma • 389. Qureshi, F; Pestian, J; Davis, P; Zaritsky, A. Pediatric Research. 1998; 43:69-69.

Investigation of bias in an epilepsy machine learning algorithm trained on physician notes. Wissel, BD; Greiner, HM; Glauser, TA; Mangano, FT; Santel, D; Pestian, JP; Szczesniak, RD; Dexheimer, JW. Epilepsia. 2019; 60:e93-e98.

What's in a Word? Detecting Partisan Affiliation from Word Use in Congressional Speeches. Bayram, U; Pestian, J; Santel, D; Minai, AA. (2019) IEEE. 2019-July.

Implementation of Pharmacogenetics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center: Lessons Learned Over 14 Years of Personalizing Medicine. Ramsey, LB; Prows, CA; Zhang, K; Saldana, SN; Sorter, MT; Pestian, JP; Wenstrup, RJ; Vinks, AA; Glauser, TA. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 2019; 105:49-52.

Improving Detection of Rapid Cystic Fibrosis Disease Progression-Early Translation of a Predictive Algorithm Into a Point-of-Care Tool. Szczesniak, RD; Brokamp, C; Su, W; Mcphail, GL; Pestian, J; Clancy, JP. IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine-JTEHM. 2019; 7:2800108-8.