The Chemical Probes Portal is designed to change the way scientists find and use small-molecule reagents called chemical probes in biomedical research and drug discovery. The Portal is backed by reviews and commentary from recognized chemical probe experts. Our knowledge-dissemination model, focused on providing accessible expert advice, promises to increase research reproducibility, maximize investment outcomes and accelerate the discovery science that informs the next generation of therapeutics.
Drug discovery is an interdisciplinary research enterprise. Each year, millions of public and private research dollars are applied to the development and/or application of chemical probes, which can be powerful reagents that enable the research that brings new medicines to patients. Unfortunately, much of this money is wasted, as scientists either opt to use inferior quality chemical probes or apply high-quality probes in inappropriate or invalid ways (see The promise and peril of chemical probes).
Finding high-quality chemical probes is challenging. Most researchers who use chemical probes do not have the expertise to critically evaluate the validation data that distinguish one of these reagents from another. These researchers typically rely on citation rates, google, Wikipedia or vendor catalogues to make their selections; however, none of these sources provide accessible, expert guidance on the selection and/or application of chemical probes. Thus, researchers can spend a lot of time looking for the right chemical probe and still opt for an inferior reagent.
The Portal is a web-based resource, freely available to anyone with an internet connection. Users can come to the Portal before they begin a research program or write a grant and search for the most appropriate chemical probe for their experiment. The Portal provides accessible recommendations about chemical probes based on expert input from our Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), a diverse group of scientific thought leaders from the fields of chemical biology, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology and related disciplines. Our experts provide guidance on the best chemical probes available for a particular experiment and establish best practices for using them. This guidance makes it easy for non-experts to select the right chemical probe before they begin an experiment and to design a more informative experiment without needing to become an expert in a new discipline.
By making it easier for scientists to identify the best tools from one discipline and apply them in another, the Portal helps researchers make the most of their limited resources, increases the reproducibility of experiments they perform, and accelerates the research that brings new medicines to patients.
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