Saving Time and Money

(June 18th, 2013) CiteAb – a new and independent antibody search engine will help you choose just the right antibody for your project and that’s because things are done a bit differently compared to other antibody search tools. Recently, the one-millionth entry was added.

Do you use antibodies in your research? Would you like to know how well it is going to work before you shell out a fortune? Well, you should check out CiteAb – an impartial website to help you make better-informed choices. Thus, users can browse antibodies by application, company, host or reactivity. At the moment, the database lists almost 4,000 antibodies reactive with mouse tissue and cells, more than 6,000 reactive with samples from human sources and even 4 antibodies reactive with samples from koala.

Andrew Chalmers, a lecturer at the University of Bath in the UK since 2005, following on from an MRC Career Development Fellowship, launched CiteAb in March 2013. Chalmers tells me inspiration for the website was his “own frustration at the amount of effort students and postdocs in my lab spent looking for antibodies, and the number of antibodies we bought that didn’t work” – something that most people, like me, who work with antibodies, can relate to.

He is keen to point out that CiteAb is “a search engine that ranks antibodies by citations, which is a simple and transparent method, unlike like some other search engines which rank by the amount a company would pay”. Perhaps you are sceptical as to whether this really is the case? Well, hopefully the fact that the project was funded by the University of Bath – through its Research Development and Support Office - will convince you this really is true.

Work on the website was initiated in early 2012, in a joint project with Storm Consultancy (Bath, UK) and went live with a trial version of the website in September 2012. Since the launch of the finalised site in March, Andrew tells me the website “has had over 18,000 visitors with users from 92 countries” – and something particularly rewarding to Chalmers is that “the number of repeat users is also rising, which is great. It’s nice to know that we've made a tool that people actually want to use!” So, evidently, the website is a success but the story does not end there. Chalmers continues “the site is so new we are constantly improving it (…) Our next upgrade should improve the experience for all users on phones and tablets (…) We are acting on user feedback to make CiteAb fit their needs better.”

Chalmers explains that the website would not have been possible without the massive amount of help and advice from many people involved. He is particularly thankful to Graham Fisher from the Enterprise and Knowledge Exploitation team at University of Bath and the Storm MD, David Kelly.

Clearly, the experience has been positive for Andrew Chalmers, who urges “I would encourage other scientists with similar types of ideas to pursue them. Starting CiteAb has been very exciting, great fun and rewarding. I have also learnt a lot to benefit my research, which looks at epithelial cells and what goes wrong with them during cancer formation.” Hopefully it will benefit the research of many others, too.

Nicola Hunt

Image: Andrew Chalmers (left) and development manager Matt Helsby, CiteAb

Last Changes: 07.12.2013