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Glycans enter mainstream of biomedical science
Date:7/25/2011

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have received a major 7-year, $18 million grant to begin translating emerging discoveries in the field of glycosciences into new discoveries and therapies related to heart, lung and blood diseases.

Glycobiology is the study of glycans (carbohydrate chains) and their crucial roles in molecular and cellular biology. The grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) under its new "Program of Excellence in Glycosciences" (PEG) will be headed by Ajit Varki, MD, professor of medicine and cellular and molecular medicine and co-director of UC San Diego's Glycobiology Research and Training Center (GRTC). A key component of the grant will be to train new generations of scientists who understand glycans. It will be led by Jeff Esko, PhD, professor of cellular and molecular medicine and the other co-director of the GRTC.

The NHLBI program highlights the growing importance of glycans in heart, lung and blood disease research. The PEG grant has several goals: To train future generations of scientists fluent in both glycan chemistry and biology; to facilitate national collaborations; to disseminate important research findings; and to develop and expand core facilities across the country devoted to supporting the diverse endeavors of glycoscience. Because of its well-established presence and prominence in the field, UC San Diego School of Medicine and the GRTC have been selected by NHLBI to take the lead role in coordinating the program interactions among the new PEG-funded institutions, which include Harvard University, the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins University.

"We are particularly well-suited for this role," said Varki, who is also executive editor of the major textbook on glycobiology. "The GRTC is one of the few such centers in the world. And there's an entrepreneurial spirit here at UC San Diego that's rare and special. It encourages researche
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Contact: Scott LaFee
slafee@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert  

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