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Canadian Glycomics Network: September 2016
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Pharmacological chaperones: A promising new treatment for genetic diseases

By Alexandria Daum

Every protein in a cell is sorted in the endoplasmic reticulum before it moves to other parts of the cell – think of it as a mailroom for proteins. If a piece of mail is missing an address, it’s thrown in the garbage. The same thing happens to defective proteins in a cell.

One way proteins can be defective is that they don’t fold into the right shape. But in many genetic diseases, including Gaucher disease and Tay-Sachs disease, a mutation prevents proteins from folding properly, but the proteins actually still work. If only they weren’t thrown in the garbage, they would be able to perform their proper function. That’s where a pharmacological chaperone, a small molecule that helps proteins fold, can assist. Read more. 

Disassembling bacteria's protective walls

By Alexandria Daum

A bacterial or fungal infection is difficult enough to treat, but when these infections form protective biofilms, it makes them even more stubborn. Now, the solution being explored by GlycoNet scientists is to prevent the biofilm from forming in the first place.

“Bacteria and fungi can produce a force field or matrix around themselves,” says Dr. Lynne Howell, lead investigator of the project and a researcher at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. This force field – the biofilm – is a protective barrier composed of proteins, DNA and sugar polymers that makes bacteria or fungi 1,000 times more tolerant of antibiotics. Read more.

GlycoNet receives library of carbohydrate compounds from AITF

By Chardelle Prevatt

The Canadian Glycomics Network (GlycoNet) is delighted to announce the strengthening of its collaboration with Alberta Innovates Technology Futures (AITF). GlycoNet has recently received an extensive library of carbohydrate compounds from AITF.

“We are excited to accept the contribution as part of AITF’s ongoing commitment to our glycomics research,” said Elizabeth Nanak, GlycoNet Executive Director. “The carbohydrate compounds will help diversify our collection and present giant steps towards understanding the effects of carbohydrates (or glycans) on human biological systems.” Read more.

Glyco-oncology discussion concluded with success

By Chardelle Prevatt

On Monday, September 19, 2016, GlycoNet scientists joined an elite group of industry experts in Montréal to discuss glycomics and oncology (glyco-oncology).

Featuring Dr. Greg Plowman, VP (oncology research) at Eli Lilly and Company; Dr. Fred Sweeney, VP (business development and strategic alliances) at bioMerieux; and Dr. Luc Marengere, Managing Partner of TVM Capital Life Science, the panel offered invaluable advice to GlycoNet scientists and staff alike. Topics included an overview of glyco-oncology, details on GlycoNet research and challenges and opportunities for translating Network projects into tangible, commercial advances. Read more.

Welcome to all those who have recently joined our Network!

Network Investigators:
Dr. Dimcho Bachvarov, Université Laval
Dr. Nicolas Doucet, INRS - Institut Armand-Frappier
Dr. Brian Eames, University of Saskatchewan
Dr. Basil Hubbard, University of Alberta
Dr. Mark Taylor, University of Toronto

GlycoNet Trainee Association (GTA) Executives:
Andrew Alexander, Member-at-large, University of British Columbia
Perrin Baker, Secretary, The Hospital for Sick Children
Benjamin DiFrancesco, Vice Chair, University of Toronto
Pavan Kondapi, Member-at-large, University of Alberta
Franҫois Le Mauff, Chair, McGill University
Erum Razvi, Communications Officer, University of Toronto/The Hospital for Sick Children
Lisa Willis, Member-at-large, University of Toronto
 
Administrative Members:

Cécile McNeil joins GlycoNet as Financial Administrator. With over 20 years of progressive accounting experience, Cécile has worked in various industries, including biotech, education and healthcare. She is primarily responsible for monitoring and managing GlycoNet's financial transactions, including coordination with Finance Departments of the Network's institutions. Cécile also assists with budgeting, annual planning and forecasting.
Chardelle Prevatt is GlycoNet's Communications Associate. She has spent the past eight years in advertising, marketing, and copywriting for the automotive, healthcare, insurance, and real estate sectors. Having successfully designed advertising campaigns for leading brands internationally, Chardelle specializes in strategically positioning and promoting corporate entities amidst the evolving technological landscape. She holds a Master of Arts in Communications and plays an active role in researching the potential of broadband technologies in bridging Canada's digital divide.
Announcements
Congratulations to GlycoNet trainee Christopher Roach on winning the University of British Columbia’s Future Alumnus Award. Read more.

We’ve added a new feature—a message board on the GlycoNet Forum to facilitate discussions within the GlycoNet trainee community.

Deadline: January 15, 2017
The Research Exchange Program provides financial support for living and travel expenses to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, technicians, and research associates within GlycoNet who are working on multi-investigator projects. 

Visit our website for more opportunities for trainees.


Technology Workshops & Regional Meetings 
Deadline: January 15, 2017
Do you need hands-on training and professional development? Would you like to participate in small, specialized groups that promote collaboration and knowledge exchange? If yes, then you've come to the right place. 
Learn more on how to apply for GlycoNet technology workshops and regional meetings.
*Proposals are due by January 15, 2017.

 
You are invited to join a panel of experts including GlycoNet’s Lisa Sim (Partner & Registered Patent Agent at Miller Thomson LLP) for a complimentary breakfast session on Financing and Protecting Your Research & Development.
Date: Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Location: Miller Thomson, Hans Swinton Boardroom, 11th Floor, 840 Howe Street, Vancouver BC
Time: 7:30 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.

Register here.

October 21, 2016 : Our Board of Directors meeting.
We want to hear from you! 
Communicating your research findings is an important responsibility as a scientist. GlycoNet is here to support and promote communication of your research, but we need your help. Send photos, successes, milestones and information about awards and press coverage that you've received to glyconet@ualberta.ca.
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