In looking through the 2012 Web Server Issue of NAR, Nucleic Acids Research journal, I couldn’t help notice resource names that revealed a bit about the developers’ sense of humor, such as “TaxMan” and “XXmotif“. There were others on the list (“MAGNET“, “GENIES” and “VIGOR“, for example) whose names made me cringe imagining someone trying to find them with the average search engine. [Our family's favorite such resource is iHOP, or Information Hyperlinked Over Proteins - I gotta think that the developers aimed at that name in honor of the other IHOP and breakfasts everywhere.]
I scrolled through many such names until I found a resource to feature in today’s tip. I wanted something dealing with a current topic – they all pretty much fit that criteria – and one that I was interested in, but that was outside my “normal area of expertise”. I decided on “MetaboAnalyst 2.0“, which is the resource that I will feature in today’s tip. It is described in the article “MetaboAnalyst 2.0—a comprehensive server for metabolomic data analysis” as follows:
“MetaboAnalyst is a web-based suite for high-throughput metabolomic data analysis. It was originally released in 2009… MetaboAnalyst 2.0 now includes a variety of new modules for data processing, data QC and data normalization. It also has new tools to assist in data interpretation, new functions to support multi-group data analysis, as well as new capabilities in correlation analysis, time-series analysis and two-factor analysis. We have also updated and upgraded the graphical output to support the generation of high resolution, publication quality images.”
As I often do, I began “exploring” MetaboAnalyst 2.0 by reading their NAR article. It is well written and describes how the goal of the interface is to be user friendly and intuitive, so I headed over to MetaboAnalyst 2.0 “kick some tires”, so to speak. I found that the interface is quite easy & intuitive to use. And to really help users understand the resource before launching into uploading their own data, the developers provide a wide range of example data sets that users can play with, as well as step-by-step guides (pdf, PowerPoint, & two articles that require journal subscriptions, no videos yet). In my video I use one of their datasets & show a quick example of some analysis steps. Of course there isn’t time to fully cover MetaboAnalyst 2.0, but hopefully I show you enough to tempt you to try it out on your own.
*Please note that the developers suggest that you download results immediately because all user data is treated as private and confidential by MetaboAnalyst 2.0 will remain on the server for only 72 hours before automatically deleted.
MetaboAnalyst 2.0 – http://www.metaboanalyst.ca/
Jianguo Xia, Rupasri Manda, Igor V. Sinelnikov, David Broadhurst, & David S. Wishart (2012). MetaboAnalyst 2.0—a comprehensive server for metabolomic data analysis Nucleic Acids Research, 40 (W1) DOI: 10.1093/nar/gks374
Jianguo Xia, Nick Psychogios, Nelson Young, & David S. Wishart (2009). MetaboAnalyst: a web server for metabolomic data analysis and interpretation Nucleic Acids Research Volume 37, Issue suppl 2 Pp. W652-W660. , 37 DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkp356