Glycoscience is the study of the structure and function of carbohydrates — organic compounds that play critical roles in nearly every aspect of biology. UGA is a partner in a new project that will soon be able to provide a way for questions asked by those studying glycoscience to be answered by big data:
The National Institutes of Health has jointly awarded a $10 million grant to UGA and George Washington University to build a glycoscience informatics portal, called GlyGen, necessary for glycoscience to advance. GlyGen will also integrate glycan data with gene and protein data, to allow for more effective analysis.
“It is impossible to do meaningful glycobiology research without including information from many different disciplines, including genomics, proteomics, cell biology, developmental biology and biochemistry, to name just a few,” said William York, co-principal investigator, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, and member of UGA’s Complex Carbohydrate Research Center.
Currently, understanding the roles that glycans play in diseases such as cancer involves extensive literature-based research and manual collection of data from disparate databases and websites. GlyGen will simplify this process by providing scientists with a road map that shows key relationships among diverse kinds of information, allowing them to quickly find and retrieve the most current knowledge available and make rapid progress in their glycobiology research.
Great news for research teams around the world, as the era of big data begins to translate into resources that help scientists understand and fight disease. Congratulations to York, the CCRC and colleagues at GW.
Teaser Image: professor William York
Insert: sugar cubes