Sunday, January 01, 2006


I thought Chmoogle was nice when I blogged about it a few weeks ago.
But QueryChem takes open content chemical searching to the next level and here is why:

1) Just like Chmoogle, you can use an editor to draw the a molecule or type the SMILES code as input. But you can also add text queries to fine tune the results. For example, typing "CAS" in the text box pulls up only those hits where the CAS number is likely to be listed.

2) This is the big one: the results in QueryChem take you directly to the pages of the commercial suppliers. In a Chmoogle search, the results only take you to the general company URL, where you have to do the search over again.

3) A QueryChem search does a lot of work for you. It figures out the possible names for a compound then throws that back into Google or Google Scholar and then shows where those names appear in the results. That saves a lot of manual labor.

4) Compound analogs also show up and the threshold of similarity can be set in the search.

With all of these advantages, QueryChem is now my first choice for single search open content chemical information. For ongoing monitoring of our UsefulChem project I am still going to use CAS number searches in MSN (exportable via OPML) because QueryChem does not yet provide RSS feeds for searches.

Another feature that I would love to see in QueryChem is the ability to form a URL of a given search.

Update: Justin Dale Klekota from QueryChem has just enabled forming a URL for a search. For example the search below formed by searching the SMILES code for glycoaldehyde and "CAS" can be called up by clicking on this link. He also informs me that they are working on RSS feeds for searches. How is that for responsive!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Chemistry Department Head Search


The College of Arts & Sciences invites applications for the Department Head of Chemistry. The applicant must demonstrate outstanding leadership and interpersonal skills, and have a distinguished record of research and undergraduate and graduate education. It is expected that the applicant will continue an active, extramurally funded, research program while providing vision and administrative leadership to advance the department. Key objectives include increasing the number of both undergraduate majors and Ph.D. students, and increasing the breadth and depth of interdisciplinary research, with an emphasis on biological and nanoscale areas of chemistry. Opportunities exist for substantial research collaboration with other departments in Arts & Sciences and the Colleges of Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Medicine. Further information about the department can be found at The application should include a curriculum vitae and a letter of intent that describes research, teaching, and administrative accomplishments and goals. Names, addresses, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses of at least three references should also be included. Application materials should be sent to: Chairman, Chemistry Department Head Search, Room 4020 - McAlister Hall, College of Arts & Sciences, Drexel University, Philadelphia PA 19104. Drexel University is a private, urban university with over 10,000 full-time undergraduates and is well-known for its emphasis on technology and its cooperative education program. Review of applications will begin on December 1, 2005 and will continue until the position is filled. Drexel University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from qualified women, members of minority groups, disabled individuals and veterans.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Jay Bhatt just told me about Chmoogle, the new eMolecules search engine for chemicals. Doing a quick search, I was able to find many commercial sources for fragments the potential HIV protease inhibitors on the watch list at UsefulChem.

This is going to have a significant impact on chemical research and teaching.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Bradley mini-talk

Our chemistry department hosted a mini-symposium for graduate students to hear about what the faculty are doing in their research. We were limited to 15 minutes, which is a good way to keep all talks on the big picture. Students can always follow up with individual faculty members later if they are interested.

I divided mine up in two sections. The first part dealt with my nanotechnology work: bipolar electrochemistry on carbon nanotubes, which basically means doing electrochemistry on the tip of very tiny tubes without physically touching them. The second part was a quick summary of using blogs, wikis and games in education. I even had time to do a quick Unreal Tournament demo for a Lewis structure map quiz.

Here is the screencast mp3 podcast and Powerpoint of my talk.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Nanotechnology lab blogging

I have asked two students working in my lab over the summer to blog about their experience, which includes experimental results as well as reflections and thoughts about their work. These blogs can then serve as a part of their electronic portfolio. So far, they are off to a good start. Here are their blogs:

Sunday, April 17, 2005

new nano books

Jay Bhatt has just pointed out that there are a few new books in nanotechnology available at our library.

I would recommend that our chemistry students subscribe to the Engineering Resources blog that Jay and Andy Wheeler maintain. There is a lot of overlap with material of interest to chemists there.

Also, Kevin just made me aware that Peggy Dominy has a chemistry library blog.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

3D periodic table?

Here is an interesting article in the New Scientist on how clusters of atoms can behave like superatoms. More tools for nanotechnology.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

seminar on chiral columns April 4

Rekha D. Shah, Ph.D.
Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development
Spring House, PA

Monday, April 4, 2005
Disque Hall (Building 12), Room 919
3141 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

3:30 PM Refreshments
3:40 PM Seminar - "Chiral Columns or Chiral Detectors? : A Question of Importance in HPLC Chiral Methods Development"

Chiral molecules, especially chiral drug molecules pose challenges both from a synthetic as well as an analytical perspective. When a new molecular entity, which is chiral, is identified, the challenge for the process chemists is to decide how to prepare it on a large scale. Two possible ways to prepare an enantiomerically pure drug substance are by asymmetric synthesis or by resolution (classical or chromatographic). In any event it is essential to develop an enantiomeric purity method(s) to determine the %enantiomeric purity (%ee) of the product as well as for the starting material and the intermediate(s).
Developing an enantiomeric purity method is less complicated in the case where a pure racemate is available and the compound is soluble in the mobile phase. But when the racemate is not chemically pure, then the impurity peak(s) can lead to incorrect interpretations, and developing a method becomes problematic. In such situations, chiroptical detectors can be valuable since they give a response to only chiral molecules. In this presentation we will discuss chiral method development techniques using chiral columns and chiral detectors as well as the applications of chiroptical detectors in the determination of %ee without separating enantiomers.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Welcome to the Chem Department Blog

Welcome! This is where we'll try posting the department announcements and other interesting information. The link to the departmental website (for all sorts of information is)