Program Snapshot

Image of glycan building blocks and a cartoon showing how glycans cover the outside of cellsGlycans are complex biomolecules made from sugars. Glycans are an important part of biology and can impact how our cells or proteins work. The Glycoscience program is providing resources so scientists can better understand the role of glycans.


The goal of the Common Fund’s Glycoscience program is to create new resources, tools, and method to make the study of glycans (sugars) more accessible to the broader research community. Glycans play a critical role in nearly all aspects of biology, ranging from how our bodies recognize and fight viruses and bacteria to how proteins are moved throughout our cells to perform different tasks. Despite being an important part to nearly all biological functions, the study of glycans and the roles they play is limited due to the complexity surrounding the chemistry to make, study, and sequence all the different glycans in our body. To combat this, the Glycoscience program has developed a variety of tools, resources, and information for researchers unfamiliar with glycans to incorporate them into their studies. This includes techniques for identifying especially difficult glycans, probes to study glycans in bacterial cell walls, standards for glycan chemical synthesis, methods for high-throughput glycan studies, and glycoscience educational materials.


This page last reviewed on April 14, 2023