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Assessing the Importance and Impact of Glycomics and Glycosciences Phase II

Description: Glycans form one of the four basic classes of macromolecules in living systems, along with nucleic acids, proteins, and lipids. They are composed of individual sugar units that can be linked to one another in multiple ways, enabling them to form complex three-dimensional structures. In living systems, glycans are involved in myriad processes that are part of normal cellular physiology, development, and signaling, as well as in the development of both chronic and infectious diseases. Because of their ubiquity on cell surfaces, they are key components of biological interfaces and are involved in molecular recognition and signaling. They are also important molecules in cell adhesion and cell movement. Meanwhile, glycans on proteins inside cells participate in the cell’s responses to incoming signals, for example by helping to modulate gene expression and protein functions. Glycan polymers such as cellulose are important components of plant cell walls. Understanding how such walls are assembled and how they can be deconstructed is fundamental to basic plant biology, but also in the development of applications such as efficient conversion of biomass into fuels. Glycan polymers derived from plants and other organisms can also serve as sources of new materials with wide-ranging applications from tissue engineering scaffolds to flexible electronic displays. Achieving an understanding of the structures and functions of glycans is fundamental to understanding biology. The National Research Council report resulting from this project, Transforming Glycoscience: A Roadmap for the Future, discusses the impact glycoscience can have across health, energy, and materials science and lays out a roadmap of research goals whose achievement could help the field become a widely-recognized and integrated discipline rather than a niche area studied by a small number of specialists. Despite advances, gaps remain in the current suite of tools for investigating glycans and these tools often require expert users ...
Date: February 7, 2013
Creator: Zolandz, Dorothy
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Research Frontiers in Bioinspired Energy: Molecular-Level Learning from Natural Systems: A Workshop

Description: An interactive, multidisciplinary, public workshop, organized by a group of experts in biochemistry, biophysics, chemical and biomolecular engineering, chemistry, microbial metabolism, and protein structure and function, was held on January 6-7, 2011 in Washington, DC. Fundamental insights into the biological energy capture, storage, and transformation processes provided by speakers was featured in this workshop�which included topics such as microbes living in extreme environments such as hydrothermal vents or caustic soda lakes (extremophiles)� provided a fascinating basis for discussing the exploration and development of new energy systems. Breakout sessions and extended discussions among the multidisciplinary groups of participants in the workshop fostered information sharing and possible collaborations on future bioinspired research. Printed and web-based materials that summarize the committee�s assessment of what transpired at the workshop were prepared to advance further understanding of fundamental chemical properties of biological systems within and between the disciplines. In addition, webbased materials (including two animated videos) were developed to make the workshop content more accessible to a broad audience of students and researchers working across disciplinary boundaries. Key workshop discussion topics included: Exploring and identifying novel organisms; Identifying patterns and conserved biological structures in nature; Exploring and identifying fundamental properties and mechanisms of known biological systems; Supporting current, and creating new, opportunities for interdisciplinary education, training, and outreach; and Applying knowledge from biology to create new devices and sustainable technology.
Date: March 28, 2012
Creator: Zolandz, Dorothy
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department