Dr. Warren Wakarchuk received his PhD degree in Microbiology from the University of British Columbia. He was a Research Officer at the National Research Council Canada for 19 years, before taking a position in 2012 as Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biology at Ryerson University in Toronto. The Wakarchuk lab investigates the structure and function of the enzymes which make and degrade various glycoconjugates. In particular those enzymes from pathogenic bacteria which produce structures identical to those found in mammalian hosts. This work has been enabling the chemo-enzymatic synthesis of bioactive glycoconjugates both in the laboratory and for industrial projects. A major focus of this research is enzyme improvement through the determination of glycosyltransferase enzyme donor/acceptor specificity as well as contributing to the determination of the 3-dimensional structures of these enzymes. In collaboration with colleagues he has contributed to a number of firsts in the field, among them being cloning and characterization of the first bacterial sialyltransferase, structure determination of the first sialyltransferase from any source as well the structure determination of the first mammalian sialyltransferase. The Wakarchuk lab has expertise with both mammalian and bacterial carbohydrate active enzymes for glycan remodelling applications.
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