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Digital Briefs

New Software and Websites for the Chemical Enterprise

by Stephen M. Trzaska
July 16, 2007 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 85, Issue 29


(1) Variant Reporter reduces manual review time of genetic variation data by automating the detection of variants and streamlining the data-analysis process. The software uses proprietary algorithms to identify genetic variations based on standardized or user-defined parameters. Results are then presented for validation in a visual format that allows the user to simultaneously compare multiple quality-control metrics. The software allows researchers to study complex diseases across multiple genes and reduce the time required to evaluate genetic variation data. A free trial version is available. Applied Biosystems, info.appliedbiosys

Sarchitect Miner 1.0 allows medicinal chemists to use models in profiling molecules across various target properties, including ADME/Tox endpoints. A real-time edit-and-predict feature allows chemists to perform interactive lead optimization against a set of project-level objectives. Sarchitect Miner is designed to be used in conjunction with Sarchitect Designer but can also be used independently. Strand Life Sciences,


(2) Safety Training for the Laboratory is a series of training courses that encompasses 12 topics: orientation to laboratory safety, safety showers and eye washes, flammables and explosives, the OSHA formaldehyde standard, electrical safety in the laboratory, laboratory ergonomics, Material Safety Data Sheets, laboratory hoods, preventing contamination, safe handling of laboratory glassware, planning for laboratory emergencies, and handling compressed gas cylinders. The modules use a combination of audio, full-motion live video action, text, and colorful graphics to teach good safety practices. They are suitable for both individual self-paced training and instructor-led group presentations. The courses are offered in a variety of formats, including interactive computer-based training programs on CD, videos in VHS or DVD format, and online e-learning. The software platform enables trainer/managers to establish log-in procedures, define the curriculum, set up tests, and generate progress reports. Academy Savant,

Electrochemistry Encyclopedia is an educational outreach effort hosted by Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland. It contains articles about many aspects of electrochemistry by leading experts in the field. The articles are written in popular science style for the general public. Scientific jargon and expressions are defined in simple language in the dictionary, which contains more than 800 entries. The website provides content on 28 topics, such as anodizing, dielectrics, electrochemical capacitors, and environmental electrochemistry. The site also features author and subject indexes as well as links to numerous electrochemistry educational sites.

(3) WebGURU, the Web-based Guide to Research for Undergraduates, is an interactive student-centered resource that is intended to assist students in navigating the hurdles of an undergraduate research experience. This Web-based tool provides information on various aspects of the undergraduate research experience; searchable listings for 100 undergraduate research programs, fellowships, and grants in support of research; and a growing collection of video profiles of student and faculty researchers. The site also features information on lab safety, record keeping, experimental design, data analysis, technical writing, oral presentations, intellectual property, research integrity, and other technical aspects of undergraduate research.

Nature Precedings is a free document-sharing service for scientists. The online service enables researchers to share preliminary findings, solicit community feedback, and claim priority over discoveries. The site accepts submissions from biomedicine, chemistry, and the earth sciences, which are reviewed by professional curators. Accepted contributions are assigned Digital Object Identifiers, which enable formal citation, and are made available through an open-access archive. Submissions are not subjected to peer review before their release and are thus published within one working day. No charge is made to either authors or readers. The website accepts unpublished manuscripts, white papers, technical papers, supplementary findings, posters, and presentations. Authors retain copyright of their work. All accepted contributions are released under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which enables redistribution and reuse while ensuring that authors receive proper credit for their work. Nature Publishing Group,

Stephen M. Trzaska writes Digital Briefs. Information about new or revised electronic products can be sent to


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