Engagement and collaboration in action at the 2022 Canadian Glycomics Symposium

Posted July 4, 2022

After more than two years of limited in-person opportunities for knowledge sharing and networking, GlycoNet was proud to host the 2022 Canadian Glycomics Symposium, thanks to the funding support of the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program. We also thank GlycoSyn and Sussex Research for their sponsorship.

How nice to be in 3D again!

The Symposium took place in beautiful Banff, Alberta, on May 11–13, where approximately 160 researchers and industry leaders gathered to discuss and celebrate the latest glycomics innovations. This year’s Symposium also featured the inaugural Clinical Partnership Workshop, which provided an opportunity for 65 participants (virtual and in-person) to discuss how glycomics scientists and clinicians can work together to solve shared problems impacting human and animal health.

Engaging in learning

Elizabeth Nanak
Dr. Elizabeth Nanak, CEO, GlycoNet

“This meeting is a unique opportunity for the Canadian and international glycomics community to learn about advancements in the field. Together, researchers and industry leaders find inspiration in the work of others and foster collaborations to deliver concrete health solutions,” says Dr. Elizabeth Nanak, CEO of GlycoNet.

Banquet keynote Dr. Cara Tannenbaum, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Gender and Health, gave a memorable presentation in which she engaged participants with interesting questions that generated discussion and reflection around why sex matters in glycobiology. In particular, she invited attendees to reflect on how sex plays a role in glycan structure, function and regulation; on what they are doing to ensure that sex is incorporated in their research; and on sex-based analysis requirements for grant applications. Integrating sex as an experimental variable in glycobiology research has the potential to foster opportunities for scientific discovery and innovation, improve experimental efficiency and reproducibility, and enable social equality in scientific outcomes.

Dr. Cara Tannenbaum, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Gender and Health, presenting at the 2022 Canadian Glycomics Symposium.

The three days of the Symposium provided several opportunities for knowledge sharing and learning with a total of 6 keynote presentations, 12 invited talks, 6 lightning talks, and 57 poster presentations. Congratulations to our three poster award winners!

Poster Award Winners (left to right): Duong Bui, Doctoral Student, U of A; Youjin Kim, Doctoral Student, Queen's University; Faezeh Jame Chenarboo, U of A.

Networking and fostering collaborations

Dr. Warren Wakarchuk, Scientific Director, GlycoNet

The 2022 Symposium featured key themes in glycomics research, including the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, cancer and neurodegenerative disorders, focusing on collaborative and translational research. With glycans being present in all living organisms, the potential of glycomics is huge. Networking opportunities such as the Symposium are incredibly important for fostering new collaborations that enable us to better tackle increasingly complex research questions and unlock the full potential of glycomics to improve life for Canadians.

“For the people who attend the Canadian Glycomics Symposium, it is a valuable opportunity to have those imperative, in-person conversations that result in a better outcome compared to virtual interactions. This is an inclusive and true networking event where everyone from undergraduate students up to the C-Suite ask questions and share ideas,” says Dr. Warren Wakarchuk, Scientific Director, GlycoNet.

Photo Capture Scavenger Hunt Winners
Marie Boddington, Master’s Student, Queen’s U
Dulce Valdez, Master’s Student, Concordia U

Looking forward

We have seen tremendous progress here in Canada in the study of glycomics. Glycomics is now being used in combination with other ‘omics’ and important links are being made between changes in glycan structure and various diseases, disease stages, changes in tumour cells and aging. This research reveals critical insights into how diseases develop and how our research findings can help treat them. The field of glycomics is imperative to growing our understanding of One Health.

The 2022 Canadian Glycomics Symposium was a wonderful opportunity to connect and hear from our industry peers, partners, potential collaborators and customers. Meeting in person allowed for an energetic, informative and bonding experience that we desperately missed. Thank you to everyone who attended and supported this great event! Stay tuned for information on next year’s symposium.

We are excited for the next Canadian Glycomics Symposium in 2023!

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