Our research focuses on the development and application of ultra-high sensitivity mass spectrometric strategies for solving biopolymer structural problems, with particular emphasis on post-translational modifications especially glycosylation. We have introduced and optimised rapid techniques for screening for carbohydrate structures in a wide range of biological materials, including purified glycoproteins, body fluids, secretions, organs, cultured cell lines and whole parasites. A key objective is to provide the structural underpinning for national and international collaborative programmes of research that are seeking to define the biological roles that carbohydrates play in health and disease. This research has implications not only for understanding how sugar-coded recognition occurs, but also, because the sugar chains are so effective in stimulating immune responses, for the design of new drugs and vaccines, for example against parasites and pathogens. Our research activities include:
- BBSRC funded collaborative research
- Consortium for functional glycomics
- Glycoarrays consortium
- Bacterial research/CISBIO
- EUROCarb DB
BBSRC Funded Collaborative Research
We are engaged in a wide range of national and international collaborations which are supported by a core grant from the BBSRC. These include projects in the areas of mammalian fertilization and reproduction, glyco-immunology, host-pathogen interactions and cellular glycomics. We are happy to embark on new collaborations if resources permit.
Consortium for Functional Glycomics
The NIH Consortium for Functional Glycomics (CFG) has received ten years funding (2001-2011) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to support scientists worldwide who are engaged in research aimed at understanding the roles of carbohydrate-protein interactions in cell-cell communication. The CFG has 7 scientific Core Facilities which provide a variety resources to the scientific community. We are responsible for the Analytical Glycotechnology core, which is the only core to be based outside the USA. This Core is engaged in glycomic profiling of mouse and human tissues and cells.
The goal of the RCUK Glycoarrays Consortium, which brings together scientists from the universities of Dundee, East Anglia, Imperial College, Liverpool, Manchester and Oxford, is to develop carbohydrate arrays as innovative tools for studying interactions between sugars and proteins. Our role in the Consortium is to develop mass spectrometric strategies for on-chip analysis of tethered glycans and captured proteins.
Our glycomic and glycoproteomic techniques have been successfully applied in our prokaryotic glycobiology research in the study of a number of bacterial glycopolymers, including glycoproteins and lipo-polysaccharides from a number of Gram negative bacteria and mycobacterial cell wall components. We are responsible for the proteomic/glycomic/glycoproteomic anal ytical Core Facility of the BBSRC/EPSRC Centre for Integrative Systems Biology and Bioinformatics (CISBIO). A central goal of CISBIO is to provide a systems-based understanding of innate immunity by modeling key stages of pathogen infection.
The group is a participating laboratory within the EuroCarb DB consortium which is funded by the European Commission 6th Framework Programme and aims to develop and distribute web-based carbohydrate data bases. Dr Haslam is a member of the steering committee and the leader of the design study which is aiming to develop tools for the rapid, automatic interpretation of MS and HPLC data.