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.