Boston, MA The laboratory of Robert Sackstein, MD, PhD, of the Dermatology Department at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), has been granted a prestigious Program of Excellence Award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to support investigations in glycobiology: the discipline which studies how sugars direct biologic processes. This particular Program of Excellence Award, the "Program of Excellence in Glycosciences" (PEG), is one of only five bestowed nation-wide, and provides more than $17 million of funding over a seven year period to support research in the lab of Dr. Sackstein and his collaborators.
"This award offers an unprecedented opportunity for the advancement of the discipline of glycobiology, and, commensurately, an immense opportunity for BWH, Harvard Medical School, and the greater Boston biomedical science community," said Dr. Sackstein, also an associate professor of dermatology and of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "Understanding glycobiology is at the core of explaining how cells in the body interact with each other, how they move in the body, how they lodge within tissue microenvironments, and how they grow and differentiate."
There is currently abundant evidence that sugar modifications of proteins and fats (lipids) regulate many of the biologic effects of these molecules. However, owing to a general lack of investigative expertise in sugar chemistry, especially among biomedical researchers, there has been relatively little work in elucidating how sugar modifications direct biologic processes. "The work that this Award supports is best represented by the term 'translational glycobiology,' as distinguished from 'glycosciences' and glycobiology,' because the ultimate goal is to obtain clinically translatable knowledge to improve the human condition," said Dr. Sackstein.
Dr. Sackstein's lab has pioneered the creation of novel tools and rea
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Brigham and Women's Hospital