HSLS Molecular Biology Information Service

The HSLS Molecular Biology Information Service has a mission: providing bioinformatics resources via software procurement, implementation, and training to assist biomedical scientists with solving their research questions. Also referred to as “HSLS MolBio,” our service has supported Pitt researchers since 2002.

HSLS MolBio follows a four-facet approach with the following goals:

  1. Identify, procure, and implement commercially licensed bioinformatics software. Free software access is provided to eligible Pitt affiliates.
  2. Teach hands-on workshops on bioinformatics topics such as bulk/single-cell RNA-Seq data analysis, pathway enrichment analysis, and gene expression visualization, using software with a point-and-click graphical user interface that does not require programming experience.
  3. Provide one-on-one consultations on software/databases.
  4. Maintain a web portal providing overall guidance on accessing and using bioinformatics resources and MBIS-created web tools.

The web tools we’ve developed include:

  • Search.bioPreprint: A search engine for preprints providing cutting-edge, yet-to-be-published, or peer-reviewed biomedical research articles retrieved from Europe PMC with results refined via topic clustering.
  • Search.Databases/Tools: A search engine for finding molecular databases and software tools with a combined search of the HSLS Online Bioinformatics Resource Collection (OBRC), Nucleic Acids Research Database/Web Server Issues, and a filtered PubMed search.
  • Search.Protocols: A search engine for finding experimental methods and protocols with a combined search of Springer Nature Experiments, Protocols.io, and a filtered Europe PMC search.
  • InfoBoosters: A one-click browser widget that integrates digital text with databases to retrieve relevant information on demand.

HSLS MolBio also hosts “How-To Talks by Researchers,” a series that provides a low-stakes, minimal-time-commitment opportunity to hone teaching skills for our research community. Participants receive constructive feedback, a letter of acknowledgment, and an optional recording of an hour (or less) “how-to” style session, followed by posting to the HSLS How-To-Talks YouTube channel.

Ansuman Chattopadhyay, Ph.D. in Biochemistry, leads the HSLS MolBio team. Sri Chaparala, Master’s in Applied Biotechnology, provides consultations and training on next-gen sequencing analysis and other bioinformatics resources.

To keep current with HSLS MolBio offerings, subscribe to receive HSLS MolBio emails for our blog, What’s New @ HSLS MolBio. We look forward to working with you!

You can read more about HSLS MolBio services in our publications:

~Ansuman Chattopadhyay