July 6, 2008

You Know OBO? Let’s GO!

Oboe mechanics by starriseAccording to their website “The Open Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) Foundry is a collaborative experiment involving developers of science-based ontologies who are establishing a set of principles for ontology development with the goal of creating a suite of orthogonal interoperable reference ontologies in the biomedical domain”. This week they are having a workshop in Cambridge, to bring myself up to speed, here is a quick name check of some of the people involved.

May 22, 2008

First ChEBI workshop, Day Two

Filed under: informatics — Duncan Hull @ 2:49 pm
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Chemist Margaret Thatcher stays at the Crowne House Hotel, Great Chesterford, England
Some rough and ready notes from day two of the first ChEBI workshop, 20th May 2008. There were two talks, one from Kirill Degtyarenko (European Patent Office) and the other from Janna Hastings (EBI), followed by a discussion.

Kirill Degtyarenko: Good annotation practice for chemical data, ChEBI experience

Kirill’s talk described how to give the most appropriate names, especially since “biologists don’t name things properly, if at all” (!). Systematic (IUPAC) names are usually better than common names except for “the unprounounceables” for example, an antibiotic called (E)-roxithromycin (ChEBI:48935) has the IUPAC name:


…which just trips of the tongue (and fits beautifully, without line breaks onto regular computer screens). Fortunately, the curator can draw the chemical (note the wavy bond, unknown stereochemistry), using the curator tools, then the inchi and smiles strings are generated from the drawing. Currently they use something called ACD/Name which can generate PubChem links automatically. As of May 2008 14,000 chebi ids translates to around 11,000 CIDs in PubChem, which is structures only.

May 21, 2008

First ChEBI workshop, Day one

Great Chesterford
Some notes from day one of the first ChEBI workshop, 19th May 2008. There were four talks from Colin Batchelor (Royal Society of Chemistry), Ulrike Witting (EML Research GmbH Hiedelberg), Giles Weaver (Unilever) and Paula de Matos (EBI). Christoph Steinbeck has already written some ChEBI notes, these just add a little more detail. (more…)

May 15, 2008

BBC: Building a Better ChEBI

Filed under: semweb — Duncan Hull @ 4:09 pm
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molecule by vabellon, on FlickrChemical Entitites of Biological Interest, ChEBI, is a freely available dictionary [1] of molecular entities, especially small chemical compounds. Like all big dictionaries and ontologies, it has its own unique challenges. Fortunately, those nice people at the EBI are holding a workshop to discuss future developments in ChEBI. In preparation for the workshop, here are some brief notes on how ChEBI could be made better. [Disclaimer: I’m fairly new to ChEBI and “thinking out loud” here, add comments below if I’ve said anything stupid or wrong]


April 10, 2008

Would you like to share my toothbrush?

Filed under: informatics — Duncan Hull @ 4:30 pm
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Toothbrush Lovers by Evan RomineMichael Ashburner at the University of Cambridge once famously quipped that “Biologists would rather share their toothbrush than share a gene name” [1]. And so we have many different colourful and imaginative names for genes. The same mis-naming rule applies the reactants and products (input and output) of metabolism. Here are some example names, would you like to share my toothbrush chemical name? There are so many different toothbrushes names to choose from…


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