How to Use Laverne, the Novus Bioinformatics Tool

Laverne is your virtual research assistant, librarian and data cruncher- without any human drama. She allows you to browse unbiased, bioinformatics data related to your gene, pathway or disease of interest. This bioinformatics tool helps you gain an understanding of biological neighborhoods in your research space. Laverne also helps you find products useful for research related to your gene, pathway or disease of interest.

How to Get Started

  1. Go to Laverne:

  2. Start by clicking into one of the 3 boxes shown:

Novus Explorer Step 1 - enter keyword

  3. Type in the Gene, Pathway or Disease that you would like to search.  For example, if you want to explore the hypoxia, type 'hypoxia' into the Disease box.

  4. Click ENTER to begin your search.

  5. Laverne will then go to work searching for relationships for that term and display the matches as follows::

Novus Explorer will display terms matching your entry

  6. Browse the list of matches and select the most appropriate one by clicking on it.

  7. Once you click on the term that you wish to explore, it will appear in the middle of the Laverne tool:

Novus Explorer will display your search term

  8.You can now explore relationships between your term of interest and related Genes, Pathways, PTMs (post-translational modifications) or Diseases. Click on the relationship that you would like to display and Laverne will show the top 10 relationships. For example, if you click on Genes, Laverne will display the top 10 Genes related to Hypoxia::

Novus Explorer will display top 10 related items

  9. From this web view, you can continue exploring relationships wtih Genes, Pathways, PTMs and Diseases.

  10. By clicking on the + button you can view other related Genes, Pathways, PTMs and Diseases based on that term of interest, as well as view the number of Products Available (if you are exploring a Gene).  For example, there are 62 Products Available to the TNF gene:

Novus Explorer dislpays the number of products available to a gene

  11.By clicking on the Products Available box, you will be directed to a detailed webpage of all of these products, where you can filter by product type, species reactivity, useful applications, and many more.

Clicking on Products Available box will display a new webpage

  12. To explore another Gene, Pathway or Disease, return to the main Laverne page (  and enter another search term.

  13. You can always reset your search, using the 'Clear All' button in the bottom right hand corner of Laverne:

Use Clear All button to reset the Novus Explorer

The Brains That Drive Laverne

Laverne displays relationships between Genes, Pathways, PTMs and Diseases based on the co-citation of terms in scientific publications. The bioinformatics data used to power this tool is supplied by Biovista Inc. Biovista's Biolab Experiment Assistant (BEA), a literature mining platform, allows users to search relationships between concepts of interest such as genes, diseases, compounds and cell types to obtain an overview of the knowledge that is captured in scientific literature (Medline) and patent databases (USPTO).

Laverne's 'web' connects these data relationships between Genes, Pathways, PTMs and Diseases using a line.  Each connector line displays a small publication icon on it:

Novus Explorer publication icon displays literature relationships

By clicking on this publication icon, a window will open that displays the Literature related to these two terms. For example, when clicking on the publication icon that connects the HIF1A Gene to Hypoxia, the following is displayed:

These publications are clickable. By clicking on a title, Laverne will take you to PubMed and display the abstract of that article:


Clicking on a publication will redirect to PubMed

Laverne's Troubleshooting Guide

  • Laverne is a Flash-based application. If you cannot see the Laverne application when you visit the webpage (, try downloading the free Adobe® Flash® Player here.
  • If you notice that the Novus Explorer is not responding, try one of these steps:
    • Reload your web browser.
    • Type in the Novus Explorer URL into a new web browser window (
    • Clear your web browser's cache.
    • If none of these three steps work, please email the Novus Web Support Team at