The RSC is involved in the project as a result of our skills in hosting chemicals in a publicly accessible database as well as integrating data. ChemSpider also has a rich collection of natural products already in the database and we are developing approaches to segregate the collection for use by the project. We also have the RSC Natural Product Updates database that we have already integrated with ChemSpider. There are various other aspects of work that we will be doing to support the project including developing approaches to perform “dereplication” – determining whether or not a particular chemical has been previously isolated/identified/elucidated, in this case by searching the ChemSpider database using spectral features (NMR shifts, multiplicities, mass, fragment ions etc). If the actual compound itself is not identified then dereplication approaches can certainly hint at a particular chemical class and substructures. We do NOT have spectral data for the majority of compounds in ChemSpider so spectral prediction approaches will be useful in this regard. We will be working with some very skilled scientists who have experience with the structure elucidation of novel natural products and will have the opportunity to collaborate with ACD/Labs, a company I worked for for over a decade on their Computer-Assisted Structure Elucidation software program, Structure Elucidator, one of the tools that will be used in this project.
Its going to be an exciting project, I am REALLY looking forward to it and heck, if we can help identify new classes of antibiotics we might contribute to some of the challenges we have ahead of us!!!!