The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute awarded a total of $20 million over five years to UCSD, Johns Hopkins’ Cleveland Clinic, BloodCenter of Wisconsin and Harvard University. UCSD will lead the group’s national administrative coordinating unit.
Glycosciences are the study of glycans, which are simple and complex carbohydrates. Glycans are one of the four building blocks of life on Earth with nucleic acids, proteins and lipids, but have become the “`dark matter’ of the biological universe,” according to Dr. Ajit Varki, distinguished professor at the UCSD School of Medicine.
“Since the molecular biology revolution of the 1980s and 1990s, most biomedical research has focused on DNA, RNA and proteins,” Varki said. “As a result, our understanding of glycosciences, including glycan evolution, biological roles and clinical significance, have lagged far behind.”
UCSD will recruit and train up to 18 glycoscientists in the early stages of their careers who can commit to one to three years of rigorous glycan study and research. The recruits will have access to cutting-edge research technology and opportunities to network and collaborate with other glycan researchers.
“Our goal is to develop a cadre of biomedical researchers who will drive forward much needed glycoscience-based solutions to a large variety of life-threatening and debilitating diseases,” said assistant professor Dr. Kamil Godula.
–City News Service
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