I am interested in the structure and function of eukaryotic carbohydrate processing enzymes. Obtaining a greater appreciation of how these enzymes assimilate or degrade carbohydrates is important in understanding the biological roles that carbohydrates play in cellular processes, and also how these processes malfunction in a number of diseases, such as cancer, lysosomal storage disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases.
I am currently investigating the enzymes responsible for the degradation of heparan sulphate, a component of the extracellular matrix. Using a combination of approaches, including molecular biology, protein production, X-ray crystallography, enzyme kinetics and cell culture, I aim to gain a greater understanding of these enzymes from a mechanistic and structural perspective. Hopefully this will lead to the development of tools, such as enzyme inhibitors, that can be used to probe the biological functions of the enzymes, and possibly also for therapeutic applications in the longer term.
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