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Synthetic mucins: from new chemical routes to engineered cells - 30 November 2021

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Speaker: Professor Jessica Kramer, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Utah

Host: Jody Rosenblatt

Abstract: Mucin glycoproteins are the major component of mucus. Mucus is essential for life and serves as a physical barrier to hydrate, lubricate, and protect tissues. There are 20+ mucin genes with variable expression patterns, splicing, and post-translational glycosylation that result in structures with discrete biochemical functions. Mucins play roles in infection, immunity, inflammation and cancer. Such diversity has challenged study of structure-function relationships. The Kramer lab is developing scalable methods, based on polymerization of amino acid N-carboxyanhydrides, to synthesize glycoproteins that capture the chemical and physical properties of native mucins. We are utilizing these synthetic mucins to engineer the glycocalyx of live cells to shed light on the role of glycans in health and disease. Areas of focus for our lab are progression of epithelial cancers, and infection processes in cystic fibrosis and COVID-19.

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