Glycoscience is an interdisciplinary field of research focused on understanding the structures and roles of sugar chains attached to proteins and lipids in biological systems. Every living cell is coated with complex sugars (glycans) and glycan-binding proteins (lectins). Interactions between glycans and lectins on adjacent cells are involved in many essential biological processes including cell differentiation, immunity, reproduction, signaling and diseases such as cancer, inflammation, microbial infections. Also, a large proportion of naturally occurring proteins that are secreted or are part of the extracellular matrix are glycosylated.
The Glycoscience theme at the NCBES comprises the activities of the Glycoscience and Glycotechnology Research Group (GGRG) led by SFI Stokes Professor of Glycosciences, Lokesh Joshi, and collaborators in other NCBES research themes and NUI Galway Colleges of Medicine, Science and Engineering. The establishment of the Alimentary Glycosciences Research Cluster (AGRC) funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) with strong industrial collaborations was a major recent research initiative within the Glycoscience team at NUI Galway and in Ireland.
The Glycoscience team was also instrumental in establishing and organising annual meetings of Glycoscience Ireland, a forum for promoting communication and interaction between Irish glycoscientists and industry representatives in Ireland aimed at facilitating the translation of glycoscience discoveries into commercial and clinical realities.