Call for Abstracts for ACS Spring 2018 Symposium: “Open Resources for automated structure verification and elucidation”

20 Sep

I have the pleasure of hosting a symposium with Emma Schymanski at the Spring 2018 ACS National Meeting in New Orleans as outlined below. Our expectations are that we will have a full day of stimulating presentations and discussions regarding how Open Resources, specifically data and software, can support automated structure verification and elucidation. If this is an area of research for you please submit an abstract to the ANYL division listed at

Open Resources for automated structure verification and elucidation

Antony J. Williams1 and Emma L. Schymanski2
1National Center for Computational Toxicology, US EPA, Research Triangle Park, Durham, NC, USA.
2Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB), University of Luxembourg, Campus Belval, Luxembourg.
Cheminformatics methods form an essential basis for providing analytical scientists with access to data, algorithms and workflows. There are an increasing number of free online databases (compound databases, spectral libraries, data repositories) and a rich collection of software approaches that can be used to support automated structure verification and elucidation, specifically for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and Mass Spectrometry (MS). This symposium will bring together a series of speakers to overview the state of data, tools, databases and approaches available to support chemical structure verification and elucidation. The session will cover the different databases and libraries available and examine the issues of data quality and curation. We intend to provide attendees with details regarding availability (both online and offline), utility and application of various tools and algorithms to support their identification and interpretation efforts. We will focus especially on the availability of Open systems, data and code with no limitations to access and reuse, yet reflect critically on the potential limitations and future needs of Open approaches. Case studies will demonstrate the potential for cheminformatics to enable single-structure elucidation through to high throughput, untargeted data discovery approaches. This work does not necessarily reflect U.S. EPA policy.

Emma Schymanski and Antony Williams,
Chairs of the Open Resources for automated structure verification and elucidation symposium,
ANYL Division, ACS Spring Meeting 2018, New Orleans


About tony

Antony (Tony) J. Williams received his BSc in 1985 from the University of Liverpool (UK) and PhD in 1988 from the University of London (UK). His PhD research interests were in studying the effects of high pressure on molecular motions within lubricant related systems using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. He moved to Ottawa, Canada to work for the National Research Council performing fundamental research on the electron paramagnetic resonance of radicals trapped in single crystals. Following his postdoctoral position he became the NMR Facility Manager for Ottawa University. Tony joined the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, New York as their NMR Technology Leader. He led the laboratory to develop quality control across multiple spectroscopy labs and helped establish walk-up laboratories providing NMR, LC-MS and other forms of spectroscopy to hundreds of chemists across multiple sites. This included the delivery of spectroscopic data to the desktop, automated processing and his initial interests in computer-assisted structure elucidation (CASE) systems. He also worked with a team to develop the worlds’ first web-based LIMS system, WIMS, capable of allowing chemical structure searching and spectral display. With his developing cheminformatic skills and passion for data management he left corporate America to join a small start-up company working out of Toronto, Canada. He joined ACD/Labs as their NMR Product Manager and various roles, including Chief Science Officer, during his 10 years with the company. His responsibilities included managing over 50 products at one time prior to developing a product management team, managing sales, marketing, technical support and technical services. ACD/Labs was one of Canada’s Fast 50 Tech Companies, and Forbes Fast 500 companies in 2001. His primary passions during his tenure with ACD/Labs was the continued adoption of web-based technologies and developing automated structure verification and elucidation platforms. While at ACD/Labs he suggested the possibility of developing a public resource for chemists attempting to integrate internet available chemical data. He finally pursued this vision with some close friends as a hobby project in the evenings and the result was the ChemSpider database ( Even while running out of a basement on hand built servers the website developed a large community following that eventually culminated in the acquisition of the website by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) based in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Tony joined the organization, together with some of the other ChemSpider team, and became their Vice President of Strategic Development. At RSC he continued to develop cheminformatics tools, specifically ChemSpider, and was the technical lead for the chemistry aspects of the Open PHACTS project (, a project focused on the delivery of open data, open source and open systems to support the pharmaceutical sciences. He was also the technical lead for the UK National Chemical Database Service ( and the RSC lead for the PharmaSea project ( attempting to identify novel natural products from the ocean. He left RSC in 2015 to become a Computational Chemist in the National Center of Computational Toxicology at the Environmental Protection Agency where he is bringing his skills to bear working with a team on the delivery of a new software architecture for the management and delivery of data, algorithms and visualization tools. The “Chemistry Dashboard” was released on April 1st, no fooling, at, and provides access to over 700,000 chemicals, experimental and predicted properties and a developing link network to support the environmental sciences. Tony remains passionate about computer-assisted structure elucidation and verification approaches and continues to publish in this area. He is also passionate about teaching scientists to benefit from the developing array of social networking tools for scientists and is known as the ChemConnector on the networks. Over the years he has had adjunct roles at a number of institutions and presently enjoys working with scientists at both UNC Chapel Hill and NC State University. He is widely published with over 200 papers and book chapters and was the recipient of the Jim Gray Award for eScience in 2012. In 2016 he was awarded the North Carolina ACS Distinguished Speaker Award.
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