Written on 11/11/11 at 1:11 PM San Diego, Time; 11:11 PM, Cairo Time
Continuing the superstitious trend of taking advantage of this year’s peculiar two digits (11) [Both Egybio website and this blog started on 1/1/11], I have set the release date for PharmacoMicrobiomics—which will hopefully grow into a drug-microbiome knowledge base in the near future—at 11/11/11. Fortunately enough, we did meet the deadline (before 11:11 AM Cairo Time).
We launched an early version based on Google Docs last year, and we just replaced it on Nov 1 by a database, fully developed by Mariam Rizkallah, who did a phenomenal job learning information technology and getting a diploma in less than a year—not just getting the diploma, but actually using it with a combination of MySQL, Django, and Python to get the final product.
Besides Mariam, other students (most notably Rama Saad) have curated literature and collected enough data to get us started.
PharmacoMicrobiomics qualifies for the first complete product of my “virtual lab.” I would simply define my virtual laboratory as one with no physical location and whose members I have to supervise remotely. Many investigators supervise their labs remotely some of the time, but this project has been mostly performed by students located in Egypt while I was more than 80% of the time out of Egypt and was following up with them almost 95% of the time via the Internet. It is certainly a good working model for computational/in silico biology and bioinformatics projects. Can’t promise it could work for wet lab projects.