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Jan 15, 2011 (Vol. 31, No. 2)

VIOLIN

URL:www.violinet.org
  • Nice design, many different databases/ways to mine information
  • Incomprehensible names of the resources in the menu bar

We all know that getting a vaccine is no fun but, fortunately, reading about vaccines is much less painful. One must credit the people behind VIOLIN (Vaccine Investigation and Online Information Network) at the University of Michigan Medical School for making the mining of vaccine-related information so pain-free, as they have created a wonderfully thorough site for all things vaccine. VIOLIN places at your fingertips information about vaccine research at all stages of development, whether the potential vaccine is preclinical, clinical, or already on the shelf as a commercially available product. The only cringe-worthy aspect of this site is the gross overuse of hybrid words in the menu bar. Given that the menu bar is supposed to give visitors to the site direction to various resources, I did not find terms like “Vaxpresso, Vaxign, Vaxgen,” and “Vaxjo” to be helpful at all. I appreciate a portmanteau as much as the next person, but I found the sheer number on this site simply Vax-nnoying.

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*The opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s) and should not be construed as reflecting the viewpoints of the publisher, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., the publishing house, or employees and affiliates thereof.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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