Chemical Informatics Letters

Volume 12, Issue 5; May 2006

Editor: Jonathan M Goodman

Courses on chemical informatics
University and college courses in chemical informatics were surveyed in Chem. Inf. Lett. 2005, 10, #5, 50. There are now a large number of course modules on chemical informatics, but only a few degrees.

Structure Based Drug Design Conference
The Cambridge Healthtech Institute conference on drug design starts on June 14th. A list of other chemical informatics related conferences is available.

New antibiotic
A new antibiotic, Platensimycin, has been discovered which is effective against MRSA.

Software patents
In response to a question from an MEP, the European Commission has indicated that software is not patentable;

Boring titles are best
Entertaining headlines catch people's attention, but not search engines. An article in the New York Times suggests that search engines favour simple headlines.

Mining chemical structural information from the drug literature
It is easier to find too much information than the right information. This article discusses the issue, but omits the Experimental Data Checker, which is freely available.

Wikipedia accuracy
How accurate is the Wikipedia? The quality of the information usually seems high. Professor Martin Walker of the State University of New York at Potsdam, presented a paper on chemical information in the Wikipedia (PDF) at the 231st ACS National Meeting at Atlanta. He concluded that the Wikipedia's chemistry content is growing quickly, and is usually accurate. However, it is not accurate all of the time. Is this problem unsolvable, or just unsolved?

Sharing Data
The development of new drug therapies is very hard, and sharing data can make commercial reward harder to obtain. However, it may make it easier to find new therapies, and some groups are investigating data-sharing approaches.

Crystallisation is often the rate-determining step in the analysis of proteins and other molecules, as there are no procedures which guarantee crystal production. A group at Imperial College has discovered that a nucleating agent can help the process in many cases.

Does the open-source software mechanism work well?
An article in the Economist discusses the effectiveness of open-source software. Despite problems with the model, the open-source approach has man advantages.

ChemAxon has announced free access to a cheminformatics toolkit for non-commercial freely accessible web resources (Press release: PDF).

Food Standards Agency
The Food Standards Agency is an independent UK Government department set up in 2000 to protect the public's health and consumer interests in relation to food.

© 2006 J M Goodman, Cambridge
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