Within the fields of molecular biology and enzymology
lie important avenues leading towards the analysis
of glycan properties and function. Much like restriction
enzymes selectively cleave DNA at specific sites, a
variety of enzymes in nature degrade complex carbohydrates
for the purposes of providing organisms nutrition and
entry into host cells. Using molecular biology and
enzymology techniques, we seek to harness these activities
and systematically probe the importance of glycan components.
Many of these enzymes independently could hold therapeutic
value, either in their natural form or through their
manipulation using protein engineering strategies.
Analytical Chemistry Platforms
Analytical chemistry platforms provide complementary
information on various aspects of glycan structure.
The relative paucity of available glycan material,
the inability of investigators to amplify glycans,
the high-negative charge of glycans, and their chemical
heterogeneity however all serve to stymie glycan analysis.
Our efforts have somewhat ameliorated this situation
as we have described the development of a variety of
platforms that make available intricate information
regarding the nature of glycans.
Through various experimental inquiries we have probed
the 3-D nature of biomolecules that dynamically interact
with glycans. These efforts included studies of the
conformational geometry of glycans; X-ray crystallographic
investigations; and computational models of glycan-protein
We have developed several model systems to study the
modulation of protein activity by glycans. The most
developed of these systems focuses on the fibroblast
growth factor (FGF) family of proteins. These molecules
comprise a transient component of the ECM responsible
for the regulation of a wide range of physiological
Several programs of study within our group probe novel
pharmacological strategies. Our nanotechnology platform
combines cutting edge drug delivery technology with
therapeutic strategies to attack cancer in two ways-
by both cutting the tumor’s blood supply and
killing the cancer cells directly.