Faculty Advisor: Michael Sussman
Glycomics is a growing field of research emerging in the wake of genomics and proteomics. New technologies that have led to the advancement of these two other areas have been slow to develop in the area of glycomics owing largely to the immense complexity of carbohydrates, particularly when compared to nucleotides and peptides, and the synthetic difficulties that arise when dealing with such complexity. New technological advances are needed to unlock this field of research. Perhaps the most important is the development of new methods that would allow for the synthesis of large libraries of complex natural and unnatural carbohydrates in a facile, automated fashion. We plan to utilize the maskless array synthesizer (MAS) technology, previously developed in our labs for the synthesis of DNA chips, to develop the first in situ synthesis of carbohydrate microarrays. Such arrays would consist of thousands of unique oligosaccharides on a single glass slide surface. In addition to becoming a valuable synthetic tool, this technology would also enable researchers to perform a wide range of binding studies utilizing, for example, proteins, RNA, antibodies and whole cells.