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Human Origins: Clues from Hominid Genomics of Sialic Acid Biology

13 Abr 2009 - 16:30
Auditorio del IBt
Ajit P. Varki
Co-Director, Glycobiology Research and Training Center. University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA. USA.

"Our research interests are currently focused on a family of sugar molecules called the Sialic Acids, and their roles in biology, evolution and disease. In recent years, improved technologies have permitted exploration of this new frontier of "Molecular Glycobiology."

The Varki lab (directed by Ajit and Nissi Varki) uses these new approaches, along with the traditional tools of molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics and genomics to investigate selected areas of Glycobiology. The present focus is on the sialic acids, which are found at the outermost position on the glycan chains of all vertebrate cell surfaces and glycoproteins. Currently active projects are relevant to the roles of sialic acids in Viral and Bacterial Infectivity, the Regulation of the Immune Response, the Initiation and
Progression of Tumors and Unique Aspects of Human Evolution. We are particularly intrigued to find multiple differences in sialic acid biology between humans and our closest evolutionary cousins, the great apes. These differences are a signature of the multiple cellular and molecular events that occurred during the last few million years of human evolution, and are relevant to understanding several aspects of the current human
condition, both in health and disease".

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