Researchers awarded $1.1 million grant

Two scientists at the University of Missouri-St. Louis have received a $1.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for their research on carbohydrate synthesis. Keith Stine, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Alexei Demchenko, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, are thrilled to move forward with their research, “Development and Application of Surface-Tethered Iterative Carbohydrate Synthesis.”

The research will benefit human health by developing a new strategy for synthesizing carbohydrates significant in diagnosing and treating diseases including cancer and autoimmune diseases, and in the development of new therapies based on regenerative medicine.

“Carbohydrate structures are found throughout living systems on the surfaces of cells and attached to lipids and proteins. These carbohydrates play key roles in many areas of human health and thus there is a great need to produce these carbohydrates for use in drug discovery,” Stine said. “This grant will develop new strategies combining carbohydrate chemistry and nanomaterials to meet the needs for synthesis of carbohydrates for study of their role in human diseases.

The preliminary studies on this project, which ran from 2006 to 2008, also were funded by the NIH through their Exploratory/Developmental Grant. “The new award is a clear appreciation of the importance of this collaborative effort,” Demchenko said.

The NIH, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research. Helping to lead the way toward important medical discoveries that improve people’s health and save lives, NIH scientists investigate ways to prevent disease as well as the causes, treatments, and even cures for common and rare diseases. Composed of 27 institutes and centers, the NIH provides leadership and financial support to researchers in every state and throughout the world.

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