Our research program is focused in the areas of biosynthetic chemistry (with a particular emphasis in enzymatic carbohydrate synthesis), the structure determination/analysis of oligosaccharides and the discovery of novel carbohydrate-active enzymes that can be used in complex oligosaccharide synthesis. Students and postdoctoral fellows in the group use synthetic chemistry and enzymatic strategy to prepare compounds with interesting biological activities and then have the opportunity to use them in either biochemical or conformational studies.
The long-term goals of our research program are to develop state-of-the-art methods for assembling complex, biologically-relevant carbohydrates (glycans) that can be used to probe their function in nature. My underlying research philosophy is to work on problems in which developing methods for preparing novel, structurally-interesting glycans leads to tools for studying vital biological problems. The major area of focus is human milk glycans. Specific systems of interest are: 1) Discovering new enzymes as biocatalysts for human milk-type glycan synthesis; 2) Chemoenzymatic synthesis of the human milk oligosaccharide library; and 3) The function of human milk oligosaccharides in human gut microbiota and to investigate their roles in preventing the pathogenic infections.