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Carbohydrates (glycans) are major post-translational modifications (PTM) of proteins (>80% of all proteins) that increase the functional diversity of the proteome by several orders of magnitude and influence almost all aspects of normal cell biology and pathogenesis of infectious and non-infectious diseases. Most (if not all) interactions of microbial pathogens (viruses and bacteria) with their hosts are influenced by the pattern of glycosylation and glycan-binding receptors.In addition, during disease development (e.g. infections, autoimmune diseases and cancer), glycosylation is significantly altered, bothstructurally and site-specifically, with aprofound impact on the humoral immuneresponse.
It is necessary to develop tools and resources that increase the knowledge of howglycans influence and interact with their environment, the post-translationalglycointeractome (PTG). Prof. Blixt was previously the Director of the Glycan Array Synthesis Core (D) of the Consortium for Functional Glycomics (CFG) and his team developed glycan array platform of the CFG, that became one of the important screening tools and resources. More recently he has focused on synthesis of peptide- and glycopeptide-microarrays with related bead technologies to study immune responses to viral infections towards new sero-diagnostics opportunities. He has also exploredantibody microarrays to detect specific tumor glycoforms on circulating serum proteinssuch as the CA125 glycoprotein, frequently elevated in ovarian cancer, resulting inenhanced specificities.
A trained carbohydrate chemist and enzymologist, Ola Blixt and his team while at the Scripps Research Institute developed the glycan array platform of the Consortium for Functional Glycomics (CFG) that has become one of the important screening tools in the biomedical sciences. Ola is currently Professor in Chemical Glycobiology in the department of Chemistry,University of Copenhagen.