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We use the combination of organic and enzymatic strategies to generate the repository of mammalian glycans and glycopeptides, and employ these structures to develop glycomics tools to study carbohydrate-protein interactions. We also use molecular biology, biochemistry, and chemical biology technologies to understand the biosynthesis of bacterial glycans and glycoconjugates with a focus on antibiotic-resistant pathogens, and synthesize length-defined bacterial polysaccharide to develop next-generation carbohydrate-based vaccines.

1. Streamline the Synthesis of Complex Glycans and Glycoconjugates

Carbohydrates are directly involved in normal physiology and in the etiology of every major disease afflicting mankind. Elucidation of their functions and the mechanism of related biological processes demands diverse structurally well-defined glycoforms. Owning to the inherent complexity and diversity, isolation of natural glycans in sufficient amounts remains a formidable challenge, and synthesis of complex glycans with designated linkages continues to pose difficulties despite recent advances in the field. Takes advantage of organic chemistry in gram scale synthesis of glycan core structures, and the stereo- and regio-selectivity of enzymatic synthesis, we are developing chemoenzymatic approaches to streamline the production of complex glycans, with a focus on N-glycans, N-glycopeptides, O-glycans, O-glycopeptides, and glycosaminoglycans.

2. Towards Next Generation Surface Carbohydrate-based Vaccines against Infectious Bacteria

Bacterial infection is one of the major health problems over the world, and increasing cases of antibiotic resistance of many types of bacteria have become a top threaten to human health. For example, antibiotic resistant Clostridioides difficile is causing 453,000 infections and 29,000 deaths per year in USA. All bacterial present a dense layer of carbohydrate on their cell surface. Some glycans were proved to elicit specific immune responses. Our research interests are at the biosynthesis of bacterial glycans including CPS and LPS, as well as glycoconjugates. We are using molecular and synthetic techniques to elaborate the biosynthetic pathways, and targeting critical steps to develop inhibitors and mimics as novel vaccines and therapeutics, and synthesizing length-defined bacterial polysaccharide to develop next generation carbohydrate vaccines. 

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