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An App for That

There’s an application for everything life sciences.

January 20, 2010 | More and more life sciences organizations are providing iPhone applications for their data or services. Vendors and public research organizations are making sure that life sciences are accessible and searchable from the palm of your hand. Here, Allison Proffitt rounds up some of the latest iPhone offerings for life sciences

Powered by Symyx DiscoveryGate Web Service (DGWS) and ChemSpider Search, ChemMobi provides access to over 30 million chemical structures, enabling chemists to search for chemical names or IDs and quickly retrieve associated information including chemical structures, calculated properties, commercial availability from over 860 suppliers, synonyms, and material safety data sheet summaries from ChemADVISOR. Cost: Free

It provides a comprehensive selection of step-by-step protocols across a range of molecular and cell biology applications, quick access to molecular biology calculators, animations of key techniques and cellular events, technical tips, and regular content updates. Cost: Free

This app provides an interface to the Cancer Bioinformatics Infrastructure Objects data service, which links to a repository of biomedical data. The caBIO data service is part of the Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid program at the National Cancer Institute. Cost: Free

PubMed On Tap and PubMed on Tap Lite
Search PubMed to find and display reference information, store references with PDFs in your own searchable library, and email references from within the application. The Lite version offers slightly less accessibility. Cost: $2.99 for the full version, Lite is free

iCut DNA
Comprehensive information on restriction enzymes from the REBASE restriction enzyme database. Gives cut sites, compatible ends, methylation sensitivity, etc. You can search by enzyme or by recognition sequence. Cost: $4.99

The app allows viewing of three dimensional renderings of molecules and manipulating them on screen. With the touch screen, users can rotate, zoom, and view molecules as needed. New molecules can be downloaded from RCSP Protein Database and custom molecules can be downloaded from any publicly available web server. Cost: Free

Released by Computational Biology Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (cBio), BioGene features primary content from NCBI’s Entrez search engines. BioGene allows users to quickly and easily access gene information from Entrez, pulling up information about the function of genes and lists of references with abstracts from GeneRIFs. Cost: Free

GeneIndexAF and GeneIndex
Another option to search the NCBI Entrez Grid database and provide quick and handy lookups and links to sites including NCBI, COSMIC, KeGG, PubMed, HUGO, Genatlas, and UCSC Genome Browser. GeneIndex offers slightly less functionality than the AF version. Cost: 99 cents for the AF version, regular version is free

An application from Gigabit that offers comprehensive personal medical records management, maintenance, and tracking for individuals and families, HealthSync users have a one-stop portal to manage the health of young children or elderly family members, as well as chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or allergies. HealthSync also puts detailed prescription drug information, such as possible side effects and drug interaction warnings, at users’ fingertips. Cost: $2.99

iProto Human
The whole human proteome is easily accessible. Users can search and browse the proteome, visualize secondary structures or domains, perform blast searches or multiple sequence alignments. Cost: $4.99

Clinical Trials
One of several trial search applications, this one provides mobile access to more than 78,000 regulatory clinical trials from the National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health databases. A full menu of search options allows users to search by clinical trial type, location, phase, open or closed status, and more. Cost: $7.99

This structure-drawing app comes with a starter library of existing chemical structures and has a simple interactive environment that allows chemists from all disciplines and at all levels to draw, annotate, save, or email new chemical structures from any location without being tied to their existing chemical drawing packages and hardware. The app also does conversions from grams to moles and includes an interactive periodic table. Cost: $2.99

Coming soon? Illumina’s MyGenome
In June 2009, CEO Jay Flatley demoed a model of an iPhone app to visualize his personal genome data. The app was due to be functional late last year. (see, “Consumer Genetics Show and Tell,” Bio•IT World, July 2009) No news on whether or when Illumina plans to release.

My Family Health Portrait: The app, a mobile version of an existing web-based tool, records family history according the Surgeon General’s guidelines. The app employs HL7 v3 standards, which allow interaction and interoperability with clinic and hospital electronic health records that use this technology.
Cost: Free

This article also appeared in the January-February 2010 issue of Bio-IT World Magazine.
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    Another iPhone/iPod/iPad app worth mentioning is iKinase - Within iKinase, a user can search for Kinase targets by standardized names, identify top-active molecules for each target, and drill-down into more SAR detail. Cost: Free

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