Reese Rose Design
A user interface that helps biomedical researchers discover treatments for rare diseases faster than ever.
  • Role
    Principal Product Designer
  • Duration
    Eight Months
  • Tools
    Figma, Zoom, and Maze
If you are interested in viewing the live site, please contact me at to schedule a walkthrough!
The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) launched the Biomedical Data Translator program in 2016 to help translational scientists and researchers connect patient data with corresponding research, symptoms, gene associations, drug relationships, and more.
In 2021, the Translator User Interface Team was formed to develop an interface for translational scientists and researchers to easily generate a manageable list of potential treatments for rare diseases and expedite the prescription of those life-changing therapeutics. Across hundreds of biomedical databases and journals there are often dozens of synonyms for a single term, each with a unique set of supporting evidence for thousands of known or potential treatments. However, many scientists are unable to use these other tools due to lack of experience with JSON and other computer programming languages, forcing reliance on their more tech-savvy colleagues to compose their research queries.
To use the Translator-affiliated biomedical research tool ARAX, users must write their questions in JSON. Their answers are viewable as a list that contains thousands of often duplicate results or as an overwhelming knowledge graph.
Once a query is run, researchers dig through thousands of results, massive graphs of how the results affect the selected disease, and large quantities of evidence before running the query several more times with multiple synonyms for each term. I demonstrated a series of wireframes to our shareholders and dozens of usability testing participants to discover what layout and workflow made natural language searching, filterable results, complex evidence, and graphs easy for biomedical researchers to understand, investigate, and trust.
These iterations of the Results Page show a contrast in how the User Interface team expected to handle query building, displaying and filtering the result list, and other actions such as bookmarking publications.
After we defined the minimum viable product using what we had learned from my user research, I developed an atomic design system inspired by the existing NCATS branding with all of the components we would need to be able to build the live site, including graph nodes, popover styles, and filtering options. I then created a high-fidelity prototype with these components and conducted a usability test with translational scientists from a variety of biomedical research institutions.
In this first test, I discovered that users needed to see the publication source for each piece of evidence supporting a result rather than just the source ID or link. To increase users' trust in their results, I added filters for FDA approval status and type of source (clinical trial, publication, etc.). With these changes, I designed a second high-fidelity prototype that was used as a reference to our developers as they implemented a live version of the site for further usability testing.
Tooltips appear frequently throughout Translator to provide definitions or tutorials. Users can send feedback to us so that we can keep improving Translator, and they can quickly return to their result sets via their search history.
If you are interested in viewing the live site, please contact me at to schedule a walkthrough!
With Translator, translational scientists and researchers will be able to discover unexpected treatment paths for the diseases they are interested in. This "creative" answering method will show all possible genes, pathways, and other entities that may treat a disease when a drug is introduced. Translator has already been proven to change patients' lives, and I am excited to see how this interface will continue to evolve.
If you have any questions about this project or any of my other work, please don't hesitate to reach out at
Other Projects
A Telehealth app designed to increase the LGBTQ+ community's access to safe medical providers.
A collaborative system for proactive management of chronic conditions.