OH Launches Genomics Search and Learn Portal

OpenHelix today announced the launch of the new www.openhelix.com web site, a first-of-its kind portal that assists researchers in conducting breakthrough research.  The portal directs scientists to the most relevant publicly available bioinformatics and genomics resources on the web, and then gives them immediate access to tutorials, training materials, and useful tips and information developed by OpenHelix.

“There are now thousands of databases and analysis tools for the researcher to use when doing biological research,” said Scott Lathe, CEO of OpenHelix, “The first problem researchers have is just finding the most relevant tool.  There are catalogs of resources on the web, but they are cumbersome to use and using a keyword search on them more often than not delivers irrelevant results. The OpenHelix portal solves this problem”

The OpenHelix portal searches a highly relevant, curated database of genomics and biological resources, OpenHelix tutorials and training materials, and tips and information on the resources on the OpenHelix blog.  The portal delivers a list of relevant resources for the user using a proprietary relevancy system developed by OpenHelix scientists. Once a user finds the most relevant resources in the results, they can immediately go to training on the resource.

Searching for the most relevant resource is free to all users.  Some of the tutorial suites are also free, as they are sponsored by the resources themselves, such as the UCSC Genome Browser.

“The second, and possibly most significant problem a researcher faces is learning how to use these often complex and changing resources”, explained Lathe “Since OpenHelix has multiple trainers all having PhDs in biological sciences, intimate knowledge of the resources, and having years of experience with on-site and online training, we have a unique ability to provide the solution to this problem.”

With an OpenHelix individual or institution subscription, users can access the complete catalog of OpenHelix tutorial suites, over 80 currently, in categories including pathways, expression, variation, literature and general databases. These tutorials are continuously updated each month with new tutorials added frequently. (For a complete catalog, go to http://www.openhelix.com/cgi/tutorials.cgi)

With a subscription, scientists quickly learn how to use the tools they need when they need them. The online narrated tutorial, which runs in just about any browser, can be viewed from beginning to end or navigated using chapters and forward and backward sliders. The 30-60 minute tutorials highlight and explain all the features and functionality needed to start using the resource effectively. The tutorials are used to introduce a new resource, to view new features and functionality, or simply as a reference tool to refresh a users knowledge on a resource.

In addition to the tutorials, subscribers also receive useful training materials including the animated PowerPoint slides used as a basis for the tutorial, suggested script for the slides, slide handouts, and exercises. This can save a tremendous amount time and effort for teachers and professors to create classroom content.

The new portal was partially funded by NHGRI grant 3R44HG004531.

About OpenHelix
OpenHelix, LLC, (www.openhelix.com) provides the genomics knowledge you need when you need it. OpenHelix provides a bioinformatics and genomics search and training portal, giving researchers one place to find and learn how to use resources and databases on the web.  More efficient use of the most relevant resources means quicker and more effective research.

7 thoughts on “OH Launches Genomics Search and Learn Portal

  1. gsgs

    is there an internet discussion forum where people
    can talk about their research with others ,
    find co-authors, get ideas for new work etc. ?

    it should exist somewhere, but I can’t find it.
    Webpages or blogs like this usually don’t support
    reader-discussion and the existing forums are
    mainly for laymen, not researchers.

  2. Mary

    Hi gsgs–

    Yeah, there are a variety of places. I know there are a lot of scientists on FriendFeed in bioinformatics. Each species usually has a wiki or forum or mailing list that works for that. I would look in your topic of interest for a forum like that. If you’ll tell us your field we can look around a bit too.

    There’s also a new project funded by NCRR called Vivo that is going to build networking for scientists. You can learn about it here: http://www.ncrr.nih.gov/the_american_recovery_and_reinvestment_act/20091102.asp

  3. gsgs

    hi Mary,

    I’m interested in influenza species,
    maybe I wrote here earlier.I go to
    flutrackers.com,fluwikie.com, but that’s not
    really research. I googled “FriendFeed for
    bioinformatics” but didn’t find something
    useful yet. Most of the discussion is in private
    forums,lists,wikis ? Not searchable with google

  4. Mary

    Yeah, I’ve seen bioinformatics chatter on friendfeed because people have linked to us from there. I’ve seen paper and resource discussions. But I don’t actively use it, I’ve only read from it when I’ve seen links. I think it was one of these: http://friendfeed.com/groups/search?q=bioinformatics

    Chris Upton was going to have a virus researcher forum at VBRC, but their funding got hit. http://www.vbrc.org/

    Most of the other viral resources I’ve come across haven’t had discussion groups. But I’ll look around some more.

    ResearcherID was trying to build a networking place: http://www.researcherid.com

    There’s been a lot of attempts to start stuff like this that don’t catch on. But sometimes there is a nice old mailing list that’s been around for a while that works. I thought FluDB might have something because they have that collaborator map but I can’t find anything…http://www.fludb.org Maybe someone there knows about a wiki or list. I’m very brazen–I’d write in and ask their help desk :)

  5. gsgs

    OK, thanks again.

    I tried the friendfeed link.
    Searching bioinformatics and/or influenza.
    I found the bioinformatics journal which I bookmarged
    and some interesting peope.
    But not really the discussion about (published and coming) papers
    or just ideas.
    Once upon a time there was Usenet, internet was smaller but you always
    knew where to discuss things. Today we mainly have blogs – people telling
    something, but no cooperation.
    Why do those webpages like vbrc.org,openhelix.com,CDC,genbank,Universities have no discussion forum
    attached ? I see an atmosphere of secrecy – people not discussing their ideas,
    it works through publishing papers only.

    http://athena.bioc.uvic.ca/node/402

    following cupton1 on twitter now
    subscribed to the IDB newsletter (not sure it worked)

    12 researchers for influenza with
    http://www.researcherid.com/

    Christophe Fraser , Richard Squires , Anton Tsyganov-Bodounov

    well, I contacted some researchers before they seemed interested
    but they soon stopped replying. Such contact only seems to work within some institution
    and funding system , no public discussion.

  6. Mary

    Maybe you just haven’t found the right discussion community yet, or maybe it really just doesn’t exist in the virus research community for some reason. I don’t think it’s an “atmosphere of secrecy” in general. I have seen discussions like that on other boards. It isn’t easy to get a forum started from scratch. We looked into it, and thought it was too much maintenance for us. Here’s a forum I found on flu: http://forum.flu.org.cn

    But people probably won’t share intimate details of their work on the internet–nobody wants to be scooped on their topic either. But they do discuss techniques and barriers they are hitting.

    I noticed that even conferences were becoming less and less interesting because there didn’t seem to be much novelty coming out there that wasn’t already in press.

    Oh–there is one more group I became aware of at the last conference I was at. They were calling for open science. But it sounded a bit young: http://sagebase.org/ I don’t know if they’ll have any virus aspect.

  7. gsgs

    > Maybe you just haven’t found the right discussion community yet, or maybe it really just
    > doesn’t exist in the virus research community for some reason. I don’t think it’s an
    > “atmosphere of secrecy” in general.

    I get that impression when I compare with my former area of research and forums,
    which is mathematics,programming.

    > I have seen discussions like that on other boards. It isn’t easy to get a forum started from scratch.

    it is. I have created 5-10 (but little traffic)

    > We looked into it, and thought it was too much maintenance for us.

    no maintainance for google groups or yahoo groups or hosted forums

    > Here’s a forum I found on flu: http://forum.flu.org.cn

    thanks. I registered. I know FIC, get their newsletter, but didn’t know they have a forum.
    Not so many members as other flu-forums, though – but maybe more research.
    Hmm, a Chinese forum means censorship ?

    > But people probably won’t share intimate details of their work on the internet–
    > nobody wants to be scooped {aufschaufeln} on their topic either. But they do discuss
    > techniques and barriers they are hitting.

    protect from “scooping”. reward scooped people by the estimated worth of the scoop
    Fear of scooping is bad for research

    > I noticed that even conferences were becoming less and less interesting because there
    > didn’t seem to be much novelty coming out there that wasn’t already in press.

    I don’t understand the meaning of conferences, when we have email and internet an forums
    (except secrecy,fear of scoop, )

    > Oh–there is one more group I became aware of at the last conference I was at. They were
    > calling for open science. But it sounded a bit young: http://sagebase.org/
    > I don’t know if they’ll have any virus aspect.

    I couldn’t figure out (yet) how to join their forum

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