Trainee at GlycoNet: Jonah Nechacov

Posted: November 1, 2017

Where do you work, what is your position and who is your supervisor?

I am a currently working towards a Master’s of Chemistry degree at Wilfrid Laurier University under the supervision of Dr. Michael Suits.

Which project do you work on?

The project which I am currently on is ‘Novel strategies for treatment of periodontal disease and remediation of oral dysbiosis’ (AM-21). My work is the structural and functional characterization of up-regulated protein targets from dense co-cultures of the oral pathogen Treponema denticola. Currently, I am focused on three main targets which have been successfully crystallized and characterized via X-ray diffraction analysis. Work is being conducted to functionally characterize these targets for their putative role in the progression of human periodontitis.

If you have previously attended the AGM/Symposium, what was your experience?

I attended the Canadian Glycomics Symposium in Banff this past May. I really enjoyed listening to the speakers and the various results and successes in their research. One thing I was fascinated by was the collective effort to solve leading health issues through the lens of glycomics. This reminded me of how broad the field of glycomics is and its applicability.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

In the near future, I am planning to pursue a doctorate in biochemistry in the field of X-ray crystallography. I see myself pursuing research in the field of oncology in the future as I would like to discover new and fascinating treatments for this global issue.

What does glycomics mean to you?

By a rough definition, glycomics is the study of sets of glycans produced by an organism or its glycome. However, I view glycomics as the study of an organism’s glyans in order to identify new scaffolds which have been known in nature to perform a certain functions but can be modified to fit the needs of current global issues or applications.

What is your favorite quote?

“See, opinions are easier to swallow than the facts. The greys instead of the whites and the blacks” – Switchfoot

Based on your experience what advice would you give to junior trainees?

Don’t be afraid to deviate from a known method or protocol if you are not able to succeed, only exercise caution and logic when leaving it. I struggled many times with conventional procedures in my research but it was when I began to look at other possible angles that I was able to discover new results and successes.

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