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Biological Chemistry

The Human Side Of Chemistry

by Barbara Vieira
June 11, 2007 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 85, Issue 24

To me, CAS personifies chemistry. Not only is it the authoritative collection of all the wonderful chemistry that has taken place all over the world, but, combined with the power of human interpretation, it also holds keys to promising future discoveries.

CAS is also a group of people, many of whom I know very well, who come together daily to support each other professionally and personally. We work hard and rely on each others' strengths to move us forward. We also count on colleagues to add the human touch. Having a coworker remember that your dad is sick, or your son had a big game, matters. Folks at CAS take the time to make those connections.

Moments associated with SciFinder development stand out as some of my favorite memories. The goal was clear; the challenge and the fun were figuring out how to get there. I recall many invigorating brainstorming and planning sessions with talented developers like Bryan Heil, Mark Roys, Martin Fuller, Todd Hill, and Sree Puduhai. And I still smile remembering the cheesy postrelease films we made, using metaphoric plots to document our path to success. I am not sure why, but I am certain the image of Randy Cain dressed as a motorcycle rough rider will stay etched in my mind forever.

It's probably not often that a large group of colleagues also become very good friends, but I had a chance to experience that when I worked in SciFinder Quality Assurance. Every day, the "QA ladies," Lucy Dixon, Pat Yontz, Jill Price, Yvonne Weller, and I, would eat lunch—picnic style—at a hallway table surrounded by windows and a great view of the CAS campus. We laughed a lot about our lives and gave advice freely (asked for or not). We also attracted a lot of curious looks, because I don't think passers-by could believe we could continually have that much fun.

Vieira received a B.A. in biochemistry from Ohio State University and a Ph.D from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. She joined CAS in 1990. Since then, she has held positions in editorial operations, marketing, SciFinder quality assurance, sequence reengineering, and new product development.



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