Research - Voglmeir Liu Group

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Nutritional Glycoscience

The oligosaccharides (OS) in milk are known to play essential roles in the development of the infant. However, the carbohydrate composition of milk from different animal sources as well as human milk varies. Formulated infant milkpowder made from cow milk lacks certain bioactive carbohydrate structures and shows limited amounts of N-acetylneuraminic acid and fucose, compared to human milk. Our strategy to discover the difference of bioactive carbohydrate structures in milk and the potential for the development of novel functional dairy products is based on the analysis of glycosylation profiles of free and protein bound OS with a unique chromatography-based methodology. This approach is currently also adopted for a broader range of foodstuff, which shows carbohydrate related biological functions. Additionally, the level of nutritional components (e.g. lipids) has been found to influence many biological events. The effect of the nutritional level on glycan structures is also of great interest and to monitor the structural changes, and to reveal the underlying biochemical mechanisms is another target of our research. 
Novel Glycoenzymes for Research and Industry

Despite the extensive usage of glycoenzymes in food and beverage industries for carbohydrate degradation, the application of currently existing glycoenzymes in analytical sciences and pharmaceutical industry has been hindered due to their limited substrate specificities. Our persuit of finding novel glycoenzymes which bear distinct functionalities is based on combining metagenomics with tedious analytical screening of substrate specificities. 
Discovery of Glycosylation related Biomarkers

Changes from normal to abnormal cell function (e.g. during disease) are proximately linked to the changes in glycosylation. For example, alterations in N-acetylneuraminic acid and fucose in glycan structures were found to be present in cystic fibrosis, and changes in N-acetylneuraminic acid are related to breast cancer and sialuria. Thus knowledge of the function and structure of glycans is proving beneficial for disease diagnosis, monitoring (Biomarkers), treatments (vaccines and pharmaceuticals) and in providing solutions to basic biological problems. Up to date, the discovery of glycosylation related Biomarkers is still in its infancy. One of our research targets is to discover the relationship between the change of specific glycan structures and certain commonly regonized biological disorders.
Novel Glycan Labeling Technologies - Switch On Fluorescence Tags

Currently we investigate applications of our proprietary reducing end labelling method ('Switch on' Derivatization). This technology allows the formation of fluorogennic substrates after derivatisation.
Technical Service and Research Collaboration

We provide technical services for glycan structure analysis and other related tasks. Collaborations on glycoscience research/study are welcome.
 
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