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Requested Letters of Support for MetaCyc/BioCyc Grant Application

Dear User of MetaCyc, BioCyc, and Pathway Tools:

As the deadline for our NIH grant renewal approaches, we are reaching out to request a letter of support that we can include in our grant application.

We sincerely hope that you find our databases to be useful in your research, and that you will support us in our efforts to keep the project funded and in keeping the web site online and updated.

Given the tough funding environment at the NIH, renewal is not guaranteed, and your letter is essential. The more specific you can be about how MetaCyc and BioCyc contribute to your research progress or publications, the better. For example, if these databases went offline, how would this affect your lab? For students and postdocs, the letter can be brief, even just a couple of sentences to express support for continuation of the project. For faculty running research labs, the more detailed you can make the letter, the more impact it will have. Referencing your relevant grants and publications, and how MetaCyc/BioCyc have helped them, certainly provides a good context for the letter. If your research is NIH-funded, please mention that specifically. We have not attached a fill-in-the-blank template, so that the letters we receive will be different from each other.

Please write a letter if you regularly use the MetaCyc or BioCyc web sites, or their downloadable files, or if you use our Pathway Tools software (which relies on MetaCyc) to perform metabolic reconstructions of organisms with sequenced genomes.

If you use EcoCyc, please do not send a letter from this page, but please do see the EcoCyc funding crisis page.

Please submit the letter as a PDF, preferably on institutional letterhead, using the button below, or email it to

Deadline for submitting letter: May 23.

Topics your letter could address:

  • How do you use MetaCyc or BioCyc? What sorts of information do you seek when you consult them?

  • Do you find MetaCyc to be accurate? Manual curation is what yields that accuracy, but manual curation has come under fire lately for its costs. Stress the need for accurate curation by biologist experts.

  • How frequently do you use them? How critical are they to your work?

  • Why do you choose them over competing resources?

  • Which of our software tools do you find most useful and why?

  • Which organism databases do you use in BioCyc?

  • If you have created one or more PGDBs with Pathway Tools, describe what organism(s) the PGDBs cover, and what agency funds your work. If you have made the PGDB public, state that. If you plan to curate the PGDB on an ongoing basis, state that, and indicate how many curators will be active.

  • You could comment on our user support services, or on the quality of the databases or their documentation.

  • Please describe scientific findings that our databases contributed to, and relevant citations.

We realize your schedule is very busy, and we thank you for spending the time to write a support letter.

Peter Karp, SRI International
Ron Caspi, SRI International
Lukas Mueller, Boyce Thompson Institute

File containing letter:

Please provide your email address in case we have trouble reading your file and need to contact you.