Research

Carbohydrates are an important and often underappreciated class of biological macromolecules that play important roles in development, and in repair and regeneration post-injury. Defects in carbohydrate biosynthesis and alterations in carbohydrate composition are known to result in severe developmental defects, cartilage breakdown and reduced myocardial tissue integrity. Sugars also play important roles in a number of biological processes, a few of which include: binding trophic factors and cytokines, controlling stem cell differentiation, cell fate and self-renewal, directing neuronal path-finding, and protecting and stabilizing proteins. While bio-compatible synthetic polymer and peptide based biomaterials have gained widespread acceptance for regenerative medicine applications, the potential of sugar based biomaterials has not been fully explored. Our research integrates methodologies from engineering disciplines and biology, to: a) Gain a fundamental understanding of the role of carbohydrates associated with “scar tissue” surrounding injuries to the nervous system; and b) Devise strategies to rationally design “glycoengineered” therapeutic interventions that can ultimately be tested in clinically relevant models.

Top