In an effort to bridge the gap between glycoscience technologies and the biomedical sciences, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute awarded six Programs of Excellence in Glycosciences grants to institutions across the U.S to support new partnerships that promote multidisciplinary research, provide skills development in glycosciences and generate glyco-analytical tools for heart, lung and blood research.

The Chemistry and Biology of Heparan Sulfate, one of the six programs, brings together researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University; University of Utah; University of Texas Medical Branch; University of Pittsburg; Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; and Vanderbilt University and is led by Program Director Umesh Desai, Ph.D., of VCU.

The mission of the Chemistry and Biology of Heparan Sulfate program is to transform heparin anticoagulation therapy and to radically change the landscape of organ transplantation.

The Chemistry and Biology of Heparan Sulfate PEG encompasses four main areas of research, each based at a different university:

  • University of Utah, Project I: Defining vascular functions of proteoglycans through chemical biology approaches
  • VCU, Project II: Computationally designed heparan sulfates and pathophysiology
  • UTMB, Project III: Heparan sulfate-chemokine interactions and inflammation
  • University of Pittsburgh, Project IV: Therapeutic assessment of synthetic heparan sulfates in transplantation models

Read more about the NHLBI grant.

Program investigators

Project I – University of Utah

  • Kuberan Balagurunathan, Ph.D. (principal investigator)

Project II – VCU

  • Umesh R. Desai, Ph.D. (principal investigator)
  • David Gailani, M.D.
  • Philip Mosier, Ph.D.
  • Vamsi Yadavalli, Ph.D.

Project III – UTMB

  • Krishna Rajarathnam, Ph.D. (principal investigator)
  • Roberto Garofalo, M.D.
  • Junji Iwahara, Ph.D.

Project IV – University of Pittsburgh

  • David K.C. Cooper, M.D., Ph.D. (principal investigator)
  • Agnes Azimzadeh, Ph.D.
  • Richard Pierson III, M.D.
  • Simon Robson, M.D.