Carbohydrates pervade biology, but only in the last 30 years or so have their roles beyond energy sources begun to be elaborated. Post-translation modification of proteins is now established as a major player in protein biological activity, impacting from physiology and development to medicine. Carbohydrates are used extensively by microorganisms, for instance to evade the host immune response or to enable adhesion to and infection of the host. In addition, carbohydrates play important structural roles in plant cell walls, the processing of which present key challenges in a bioenergy and renewable materials context. Researchers in closely related areas of glycoscience, but working on mammalian vs microbial vs plant carbohydrates, are often unaware of each others work and unaware of just how much common ground exists, particularly at the experimental/technical level. At a time when technology is changing rapidly, and genomic information is revolutionising how we look at science, joined-up thinking is in order.
The specific aims of the Workshop are to build awareness of research activities, and more particularly technical capabilities, in analytical glycobiology in order to enhance both research and training opportunities. This workshop is the fourth of a series entitled "Analytical Tools for the Life Sciences", a collaborative project between the Biochemical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry. The workshop aims to bring together life sciences researchers that work at the interface between biology and chemistry to discuss problems and facilitate collaborations. The programme will feature speakers using a range of techniques and there will be plenty of networking opportunities. The workshop will be suitable for researchers in biology, chemistry and the wider life and medical sciences. Participants will be encouraged to participate in oral presentations, as well as discussion groups.