Adnan Halim receives the Villum Young Investigator Award
Associate professor Adnan Halim from Copenhagen Center for Glycomics has received a Villum Young Investigator grant of DKK 10,000,000 for his research project "Exploring a novel type of protein glycosylation on cell-surface adhesion molecules and receptors".
Living organisms produce and display sugar molecules on their cell surfaces. Sugars fulfill important biological roles, but the understanding of their precise molecular functions is incomplete. We recently discovered a novel mechanisms in humans that involves attachment of sugar molecules (mannose) to important cell-surface receptors. More specifically, using precise genome editing and advanced mass spectrometry we were able to identify a specific set of genes, which encode enzymes that catalyze the addition of mannose to specific receptors. Defects in these genes (and thus enzymes) are known to cause a wide range of human diseases, such as brain malformations and hearing loss, but the molecular mechanisms was until recently not known. Our discovery now pinpoints these mannose modifications as key constituents of cell-surface receptors, and demonstrates that these mannose sugars fulfil important but poorly understood biological roles in development. With the Villum grant, we will be able to develop new tools and techniques to explore the regulation/dysregulation and functions of these mannose sugars which will help us to improve the understanding of molecular mechanisms in human health and disease.
Read the press release from SUND News and the Velux Foundation