Congratulation to winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016

The International Carbohydrate Organization (ICO) warmly congratulates the 2016 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry for their achievements in opening-up a new direction in chemistry by developing new methods for the design and construction of the tiniest possible machines: molecular machines. The ICO especially notes the important contributions of Professor Sir J. F. Stoddart, Northwestern University, Illinois, USA to the field of carbohydrate chemistry. In his early career at the University of Edinburgh, UK, and at Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada Prof Stoddart pioneered new concepts and reactions in Carbohydrate Chemistry. His seminal work on the stereochemistry and topology of carbohydrates is recognized by the ‘Stoddart plot’, a graph showing connectivity of sugar ring conformations. His sustained interest in carbohydrates has more recently led to new carbohydrate-based materials with the ability to sequester gases and extract gold, a theme that formed the basis of his plenary lecture in the 27th International Carbohydrate Symposium (Bangalore, India), January 2014.

Prof Geert-Jan Boons wins the ACS Claude S. Hudson Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry 2015

The Claude S. Hudson award was established by the American Chemical Society Carbohydrate Chemistry Division in 1946 to recognize outstanding contributions to carbohydrate chemistry in education, research, or applications.

To celebrate the 2015 Hudson Award with the international glycoscience community, the Carbohydrate Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society has decided to move the award symposium from National ACS meeting to the ICS2016.

The 2015 winner of the Hudson Award is Geert-Jan Boons, Distinguished Professor in Biochemical Sciences at the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center (CCRC) of the University of Georgia.

Dr. Boons received his M.Sc. in Chemistry in 1987 and his Ph.D. in Synthetic Carbohydrate Chemistry in 1991 from the State University of Leiden in The Netherlands. Prior to joining the faculty at the CCRC in 1998, he spent seven years in the United Kingdom, first as a postdoctoral fellow at Imperial College, London, and the University of Cambridge, and then as a lecturer and professor at the University of Birmingham. In 2003, Dr. Boons was awarded the Carbohydrate Research Award for Creativity in Carbohydrate Science by the European Carbohydrate Association. Also in 2003, he was elected chairman for the 2005 Gordon Research Conference on Carbohydrates. In 2004, Dr. Boons received the Horace Isbell Award by the Division of Carbohydrate Chemistry of the American Chemical Society and was appointed Franklin Professor of Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Georgia. In 2012, he received the Creative Research Inventor’s Award by the University of Georgia Research Foundation and in 2013 was appointed UGA Foundation Distinguished Professor in Biochemical Sciences. He was awarded the Roy L. Whistler International Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry in 2014 by the International Carbohydrate Organization.

Dr Ben Swarts wins Young Investigator Award 2016

The 2016 International Carbohydrate Organization is delighted to announce that the Young Researcher Award for 2016 has been awarded to Dr Benjamin Swarts, Central Michigan University, USA.

Dr Swarts has made significant contributions to the development of new chemoenzymatic methods for the synthesis of complex carbohydrates and, more recently, to chemical glycobiology. In his PhD studies, he developed new methods for the chemical synthesis and enzymatic modification of protein glycolipid anchors, the glycosylphosphatidylinositols. During his postdoctoral work he established an innovative method for the study of the mycobacterial trehalome, the cohort of glycoconjugates containing trehalose, and helped to develop new super-sensitive fluorophores for the discrimination of mycobacteria through detection of sulfatase activity. His present work seeks to expand the chemical biology toolkit for studying glycolipids and other cell envelope components of the mycobacteria, which include the pathogen that causes tuberculosis. Dr Swarts’ recent work in this area is highlighted by the development of a one-step chemoenzymatic synthesis of trehalose-based probes for the detection of mycobacteria, and the creation of new bioorthogonal chemical reporters that facilitate the study of glycolipids and proteins in the mycobacterial outer membrane.

The Award is recognized with a plaque, an invitation to present at the upcoming International Carbohydrate Symposium (ICS), New Orleans, USA from July 17 to 22, 2016.

About the Young researcher Award:

The award is given every two years to a researcher who is 35 years old or younger as of the starting date of the next International Carbohydrate Symposium meeting, which is also held every two years.

Previous winners:
2014 – Dr Christian Lizak (Swizterland)

Dr Ben Swarts wins Young Investigator Award 2016

Professor David Vocadlo wins Carbohydrate Research Award for Creativity in Carbohydrate Chemistry 2015

The 2015 Carbohydrate Research Award for Creativity in Carbohydrate Chemistry has been won by Professor David Vocadlo of the Department of Chemistry at Simon Fraser University, Canada.

Prof. Vocadlo’s research team has as its overarching aim to develop and validate chemical and biochemical research tools that can be used in cells and organismal models to address questions in the glycosciences. To accomplish this aim the laboratory creatively integrates methods drawn from carbohydrate chemistry, molecular biology, enzymology, and cell biology. They have, for example, gained improved understanding of the mechanism of action of carbohydrate processing enzymes and developed inhibitors of both glycosidases and glycosyltransferases that are active in cells and in vivo. A particular focus has been on creating new chemical tools to both monitor and manipulate the levels of intracellular protein glycosylation with O-GlcNAc, which has emerged as an important regulatory modification in mammals. Using these tools his team has, for example, uncovered roles for O-GlcNAc in regulating protein function, proposed O-GlcNAc inhibitors as a therapeutic strategy for altering the progression neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, and validated this approach using preclinical models.

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