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  • Drug Development

    On Jadedness

    It’s a Friday in midsummer, so I assume that a fair percentage of the readership is not even around! So I’m not going to do a huge detailed blog post (got one of those coming on Monday, actually). Today I just wanted to go on a bit about a problem that comes with experience in… Read More
  • Biological News

    A Close Look at a Cancer Genome

    Ever since gene sequencing became feasible (for several values of “feasible”!) it’s been of great interest to look at the genetic material of cancerous cells. It’s been clear from very early on that there are many changes, mutations, rearrangements, shifts, etc. in a cancer cell’s DNA, and it’s been equally clear… Read More
  • Academia (vs. Industry)

    Pressure For Academia?

    I have enough time today for a quick question, one that’s also being asked by several people on Twitter. Back when I was a grad student, there was definite pressure on people to seek an academic position. I saw more than one group where this pressure was applied selectively to the more promising-seeming grad students/postdocs… Read More
  • Alzheimer's Disease

    The Case of Verge Genomics

    A number of people have passed along the recent press stories about Verge Genomics, a new company out of YCombinator that has just raised $32 million for neuroscience drug discovery. Now that, as literally anyone who’s ever done it can tell you, is a hard field of a hard field, and I wish Verge good… Read More
  • Chemical News

    A Retrosynthesis Contest

    Here’s a retrosynthesis challenge from Merck KGaA in Darmstadt. They’re celebrating the company’s 350th anniversary, and this is apparently part of the festivities. Anyone can enter for free, and the company will choose up to 12 entrants to take part in the competition itself. As I understand it, each selected person/group will th… Read More
  • General Scientific News

    The Problem With Information

    Here are some statements from a noted information scientist, which even he admits leads to “a pessimistic and even rather cynical conclusion“. Have a look and see if any of this is behavior that you have encountered yourself: In many work environments, the penalties for not being diligent in the finding and use of information… Read More
  • Drug Assays

    Combination Screening, Scaled Up

    Here’s another one for the Brute Force File, always noting that brute repetitious force is what machines are here for. A joint MIT/Broad Institute effort reports on a platform for combinatorial drug screening in nanodroplets, in this case looking for known compounds that potentiate the effect of antibiotics on gram-negative bacteria. Testing… Read More
  • Analytical Chemistry

    The Entropic Term is Laughing At Us

    There are plenty of things to optimize in a med-chem project other than binding affinity. But if you don’t have at least some level of binding, you may not have a med-chem project. And while from the outside, you might think that understanding how and why compound A binds to a given target while compound… Read More
  • Natural Products

    A Slow, Slow Retraction

    Some readers may recall this post from 2015, which details problems with a natural product isolation paper in PLOS ONE. The compound, named Xinghaiamine A by the authors, was. . .well, let’s say extremely unlikely, and I think anyone who looks at the structure in that earlier post will agree. And that spans several levels… Read More
  • Analytical Chemistry

    Covalent Organic Frameworks

    Let us pause to consider the weirdness of diamond. Not because diamonds are rare – they’re not, at least compared to many other minerals and gemstones. But diamond itself has very unusual physical properties, and that comes down to its structure. As is well known to chemists, it’s a three-dimensional lattice of bonded sp3 carbons… Read More
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