Meet Quertle: “Find What Matters, When It Matters™”

Imagine your research demands quick answers to the following questions:

  • Quertle_logoWhat genes induce apoptosis?
  • What diseases are induced by BRAF mutations?
  • What cell lines express the protein EGFR?
  • What animal models are used in schizophrenia research?

You can get the answers by reading scores of papers, but you may struggle to find time in your busy schedule. You may even wish that someone would read the papers for you. We have good news—meet Quertle, a free online search tool that gives you exactly what you are asking for.

One of the winners of the 2011 National Library of Medicine’s software development challenge, Quertle searches multiple sources of life sciences literature, including MEDLINE, full-text articles from BioMed Central, PMC, NIH RePORTER, TOXNET, whitepapers, and biomedical news.

In the search box, type your question in plain English, with a little tweak—type $Genes instead of genes (e.g., What $Genes induce apoptosis?) and voila! Quertle provides a list of genes (TNFSF10, p53, etc.) linked to the published literature.

Terms prefixed with the dollar sign ($) are “Power Terms” that instruct the software to retrieve matched entities from the literature search. There are 50 such terms, examples of which may be found in Quertle’s Power Terms table. So, putting $Diseases in the query, What $Diseases are induced by BRAF mutations?, will reveal a list of diseases linked with BRAF mutations. $CellLines will bring a list of commonly used cell lines that express EGFR protein, and $AnimalModels will display different animals used for schizophrenia research.

What makes Quertle special? The traditional literature search tools such as PubMed and Google Scholar retrieve a list of published articles, but the onus is on the user to infer knowledge by reading all the papers. The intuitive use of Power Terms enables Quertle to extract users’ requested information, and displays the results as a list of relevant papers as well as key concepts.

Additional information on Quertle, as well as training materials and user tips, is available on Quertle’s Resources Web site.  For more information, please contact the HSLS Molecular Biology Information Service.

~ Ansuman Chattopadhyay and Carrie Iwema