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Research Priorities

GlycoNet mobilizes Canada’s glycomics expertise into transdisciplinary, focused research and development programs to deliver breakthrough solutions for human and animal health and sustainable agri-food systems.

GlycoNet’s 4 priority research areas are: 

1) Infectious Diseases 
2) Immunology 
3) Precision Medicine
4) Animal Health and Sustainable Agri-Food Systems


Our cancer research theme brings together laboratory scientists, clinicians, and industry manufacturers to translate biomedical research to tangible health applications. This theme aims to deliver impact and patient benefit through:

  • Examining how glycosylation patterns on cells correlate to cancer initiation and progression
  • Developing novel methods for early diagnoses and treatment for diverse tumor types
  • Understanding how cancer cells adapt and modulate the immune system and translating the discoveries to new cancer therapeutics
Theme Leaders

Chronic diseases

This theme addresses a range of diseases and medical procedures that are responsible for a major and growing healthcare burden for human and the livestock industry in Canada. Studies in this theme aim to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of various illnesses, in addition to

  • Exploring the dynamic glycan ecosystem in the human and animal gut microbiome to treat intestinal diseases
  • Developing glycan-based therapeutics for autoimmune diseases and cardiovascular diseases
Theme Leaders

Infectious diseases

Researchers at GlycoNet examine the epidemiology, pathogenesis and treatment of infectious diseases. There is significant depth in research on immunology, vaccines, multi-drug resistance, host-pathogen interactions, and mechanisms of inflammation. With cutting-edge programs and industrial collaborations, we are addressing the unmet medical needs through:

  • Developing high throughput technology to accelerate the discovery of therapeutics for infections caused by multi-drug resistant bacteria
  • Examining the glycans produced by antibiotic-resistant bacteria and translating the discoveries to treatments for cystic fibrosis
  • Employing non-antibiotic strategies to maintain bird intestinal health
  • Understanding how glycan-processing enzymes modulate the immune system to respond to different infections
Theme Leaders

Neurodegenerative diseases

Synergizing clinical and laboratory research, GlycoNet scientists are uncovering new properties of the healthy and diseased nervous system and identifying novel diagnostics, therapies as well as preventative measures to help patients who are susceptible to neurodegeneration. Our activities in this theme embrace the whole spectrum of translational research from basic science to clinical trials, including:

  • Understanding the role of glycan-binding proteins and enzymes in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
  • Developing glycan-based neuroprotective agent to treat Huntington’s disease and neuroinflammation
  • Conducting gene therapy clinical trials for children, teens, and adults who have Sandhoff and Tay-Sachs diseases
Theme Leaders

Canadian Glycomics Network
E5-33 Gunning/Lemieux Chemistry Centre
University of Alberta, T6G 2G2
Tel: 780-492-6204
Fax: 780-492-4147

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