PLENARY SPEAKERS

Professor Henrik Clausen

Head, Copenhagen Center for Glycomics
Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
University of Copenhagen, Denmark

“A Genetic Dissection Approach to Functional Glycomics”

DDS (1981) and DSc (1990). Worked in the glycobiology field for 30+ years focusing on structure, biosynthesis and genetic regulation of complex carbohydrates. Studied with professor Sen-Itiroh Hakomori in Seattle (1983-90) on blood group related carbohydrates, glycosyltransferases and genes. Founded a glycobiology research group at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1990, and since 2007 head of a Center of Excellence in Glycomics funded by University of Copenhagen and since 2012 the Danish National Research Foundation. Past member of scientific advisory boards and consultant for Neose Technologies and ZymeQuest. National representative for International Glycoconjugate Organization (IGO) and member of the Royal Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters. Research focus is primarily protein glycosylation, where we have isolated, cloned, and expressed many of the human glycosyltransferases involved in the biosynthesis. Our interests are broad and include basic understanding of genetic regulation, and biosynthesis of protein glycosylation, Immunity to glycans and glycoproteins, consequences of deficiencies in glycosylation in diseases, and biomedical applications. We have developed strategies to isolate and characterize O-glycoproteomes of cells by use of nuclease-mediated gene engineering and a combination of lectin chromatography and mass spectrometry (SimpleCells). Applied broad genetic glycoengineering of mammalian cells for deconstruction of glycosylation capacities and design of optimal platform cells for recombinant therapeutics. We have further developed glycopeptide arrays with comprehensive chemoenzymatic synthesis of glycopeptides, and we are now developing cell-based glycan arrays.

Professor Paul Crocker PhD

Head, Division of Cell Signalling and Immunology

School of Life Sciences
University of Dundee, Scotland UK

“Biological functions of siglecs expressed on myeloid cells”

Paul Crocker obtained his PhD at the University of London and then worked at the University of Oxford, firstly at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology where he studied macrophage biology and then at the Institute of Molecular Medicine where he got interested in the siglec family.  Since then he has been at the University of Dundee working in the glycoimmunology field, with a main focus of using mouse models to understand the biological functions of siglecs expressed by cells of the innate immune system.

Jeffrey D. Esko, PhD

Distinguished Professor
Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Co-Director, Glycobiology Research & Training Center
University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine

La Jolla, CA, USA

“Novel ways to regulate heparan sulfate assembly”

Jeffrey D. Esko, Ph.D. is a Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (cmm.ucsd.edu) and Co-Director of the Glycobiology Research and Training Center (grtc.ucsd.edu) at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Esko received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. After an independent fellowship at the Molecular Biology Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, he moved to the University of Alabama at Birmingham and then to the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of California, San Diego in 1996 to help build a program in Glycobiology. Work in his laboratory focuses on the structure, biosynthesis, and function of proteoglycans. Current work includes development of animal models lacking key enzymes involved in proteoglycan assembly; application of genome-wide methods to identify novel genes involved in heparan sulfate assembly; analysis of guanidinylated glycosides that bind to proteoglycans and facilitate delivery of high molecular weight cargo into the interior of the cell as a method for enzyme replacement therapy; studies of proteoglycans in lipoprotein metabolism in the liver and macrophages; and studies of proteoglycan-associated receptors with particular emphasis on the vasculature and inflammation (eskolab.ucsd.edu). He has published over 250 scholarly papers, reviews and book chapters and was editor/author of the first textbook in the field, Essentials of Glycobiology (three editions). He was past President of the Society for Glycobiology. He cofounded Zacharon Pharmaceuticals, Inc (acquired by Biomarin in 2012) and TEGA Therapeutics, a company devoted to the development of drug delivery tools to the brain. His work has been recognized by the Karl Meyer Award, the highest honor from the Society for Glycobiology, the IGO award from the International Glycoconjugate Organization, a MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health, an honorary medical degree from the University of Uppsala and was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Professor Rita Gerardy-Schahn

Institute of Clinical Biochemistry,

Hannover Medical School, Germany

“Chemistry and Biology of Polysialic Acid”

As a professor for Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, my responsibilities are research and education. My team is engaged in pre- and postgraduate teaching (Biochemistry, Biomedicine, Neurobiology, Regenerative Medicine and Infectious Biology). In research my focus is the molecular characterization of enzymes along the (poly)sialylation pathways of mammalian and bacterial cells. I identified central factors along these pathways and invested in the establishment of tools, with which (poly)sialoglycans can be specifically recognized and degraded. We have established constitutive as well as conditional animal models to analyze the functions of enzymes of interest under complex physiological conditions. Over the past seven years I refocused my studies at applied sciences aspects involving the exploitation of characterized enzymes for the production of vaccines. I’m an Editorial Board Member for Glycobiology and the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Fu-Tong Liu, MD, PhD

Vice President

Academia Sinica

Taipei, Taiwan

“Cytosolic galectins as sensors for endo-lysosomal damage”

Dr. Fu-Tong Liu is currently Vice President of Academia Sinica, Taiwan. He received his BS degree in Chemistry from National Taiwan University, PhD degree in Chemistry from University of Chicago, and MD degree from University of Miami. He served as Head of the Allergy Research Section at the Scripps Research Institute, Head of the Division of Allergy at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, and Distinguished Professor and Chair at Department of Dermatology, University of California-Davis. He became Distinguished Research Fellow and Director at Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica, in 2010 and was appointed Vice President of the organization in 2016. Dr. Liu contributed to the identification of the family of animal lectins galectins, and his research is focused on the roles of these proteins in inflammation and immunity, as well as cancer progression and adiposity. He has published over 340 original scientific papers and review articles. His papers have been cited over 27,000 times and his h-index is 90 (Google Scholar). He is on the editorial board of a number of journals, including Glycobiology. He is a Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Academician of Academia Sinica. He was First Laureate of the 2015 Khwarizmi International Award.

Professor Ronald L. Schnaar

Departments of Pharmacology and NeuroscienceJohns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Baltimore, MD, USA

“Ganglioside functions in the human brain and peripheral nervous system”

Ronald L. Schnaar has performed glycobiology research for 45 years, having trained with renowned glycobiologists Drs. Y.C. Lee and Saul Roseman at Johns Hopkins where he introduced methods to investigate interactions between living cells and glycans. After postdoctoral studies at the NIH with Nobel laureate Dr. Marshall Nirenberg he returned to Johns Hopkins as faculty and progressed to the rank of Professor. Dr. Schnaar’s research focuses on functions of glycans and glycan binding proteins at cell surfaces. His studies on gangliosides, the major glycans of nerve cells, revealed their role in axon-myelin interactions, including axon stabilization and regeneration. The later studies led to successful pre-clinical testing of sialidase to enhance recovery from spinal cord injury. In collaboration with Dr. Bruce Bochner, he discovered glycans that regulate eosinophilic inflammation. Dr. Schnaar has served as Editor-in-chief of the journal Glycobiology, President of the Society for Glycobiology, Steering Committee Member of both the Consortium for Functional Glycomics and the Programs of Excellence in Glycosciences. He served on the Board of Directors of FASEB and has been an advisor to glycobiology-based biotechnology companies. Dr. Schnaar currently studies ganglioside functions in the brain and directs the Lung Inflammatory Disease Program of Excellence in Glycosciences.