Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and OpenHelix Announce Comprehensive Training Programs for VISTA: Tools for Comparative Genomics

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The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) has contracted with OpenHelix to provide revolutionary and comprehensive training and outreach programs for its free web based genomics resource, VISTA.

VISTA’s focus is comparative genomics, providing a comprehensive suite of programs and databases for biomedical researchers. VISTA includes excellent tools to examine genomic sequences—coding, non-coding, and important regulatory regions like transcription factor binding sites. A special project, the VISTA Enhancer Browser, links computational genomics with benchwork analysis of transgenic mice.

“VISTA is making a difference in many aspects of research, with important outcomes for medical applications,” said Inna Dubchak, Principal Investigator for the VISTA project, “But to make it even more valuable and accessible, we wanted to provide the best training material possible. OpenHelix has done an exceptional job developing educational materials for us.”

LBNL has contracted with OpenHelix to create and implement a variety of outreach and training programs, including offering free online training tools including a self-run tutorial, exercises, and a complete PowerPoint slide set and handouts that can be used by professors, teachers, and trainers at no cost. OpenHelix will also be presenting training sessions on VISTA at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, November 12-14, 2006.

Users can view tutorial and download the free materials at

“OpenHelix is excited to be the training and outreach resource for VISTA’s bioinformatics team,” said OpenHelix founder and President Dr. Mary Mangan. “It is yet another step in providing life science researchers the knowledge they need to use such valuable and critical research tools.”

About the New State of the Bioinformatics Market

The post-genomic era has yielded a multitude of free public-access resources for the dissemination and analysis of genomic data. But with the success of public bioinformatics tools such as VISTA, corporations who planned on charging for these resources have changed their business models or exited the industry. However, the public providers of these tools are mainly research institutions and therefore lack outreach and training programs. As a result, there is a documented widespread lack of awareness and underutilization of the data and tools throughout the biomedical community.

OpenHelix bridges this gap between bioinformatics tools and under-trained users through outsourced training, software testing, and research consulting

About VISTA and LBNL

VISTA family of tools has been developed and hosted at Genomics Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. This project is supported by the Programs for Genomic Applications grant from the NHLBI/NIH and the Office of Biological and Environmental Research, Office of Science, US Department of Energy.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has been a leader in science and engineering research for more than 70 years. Located on a 200 acre site in the hills above the University of California's Berkeley campus, adjacent to the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley Lab holds the distinction of being the oldest of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Laboratories. The Lab is managed by the University of California, operating with an annual budget of more than $500 million (FY2004) and a staff of about 3,800 employees, including more than 500 students.

About OpenHelix

OpenHelix, LLC, provides the genomics knowledge you need when you need it. OpenHelix provides online self-run tutorials and on-site training for institutions and companies on the most powerful and popular free, web based, publicly accessible bioinformatics resources. In addition, OpenHelix is contracted by resource providers to provide comprehensive, long-term training and outreach programs.

Formed by two highly accomplished bioinformaticists, Dr. Mary Mangan and Dr. Warren (Trey) Lathe, and Scott Lathe, who has extensive experience forming and growing companies, the company is uniquely positioned to offer services before unavailable to the research market. Headquartered in Washington State, OpenHelix also has offices in San Francisco and Boston. Further information can be found on or by calling 1-888-861-5051.


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Scott Lathe
OpenHelix, LLC
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