Goal 1: Promote Human Health

Glycans are critical for mammalian biology at a fundamental level

There is a pervasive view of glycobiology as a niche field that does not warrant significant attention. This is borne out of a profound ignorance. It is not an exaggeration to state that carbohydrates are just as important as proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids. Dismissing the impact of glycans is like stating that proteins are not very important to biology, and their importance is seen in the lethality of many mutations ...more »

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

In my opinion, glycomics is the next big frontier in mammalian biology and will be fueled by dissecting its regulation, mechanistic roles in disease, and the therapeutic potential of its manipulation.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Brian Cobb

Voting

3 net votes
3 up votes
0 down votes
Active

Goal 1: Promote Human Health

Bypass the CSR and concurrently act to help reform it

A key aspect of making any strategic plan focused upon glycoscience funding effective is the mechanisms by which grants are chosen. The problem is not the IC and making prioritized decisions; the problem is the study section ignorance and bias. Proposals that are reviewed poorly in study section out of flippancy towards glycobiology or simple lack of a critical mass of appropriate expertise never see the light of day ...more »

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

In order to truly promote glycobiology at the NHLBI, I would suggest two action items: 1) Heavily rely upon the RFA mechanisms in which the scientific review process is internal to the NHLBI or

special emphasis panel to ensure proper representation of glycobiologists on the panel. The success of this approach can be seen in the NHLBI-funded Programs of Excellence in Glycoscience (PEG), and I would predict similar success with the nascent NIH Common Fund Initiative in Glycosciences.

2) As much as possible, place significant pressure on the CSR to integrate far more glycobiology expertise into all standing study sections. As far as I can tell, any pressure placed on the CSR from the research community has fell upon deaf ears. One glycobiologist on a panel is inadequate.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Brian Cobb

Voting

1 net vote
1 up votes
0 down votes
Active

Goal 1: Promote Human Health

Basic research in glycobiology is urgently needed

There are two areas in which glycobiology has been very successful: technology development and disease correlation. Through efforts exemplified by the CFG, major strides in mass spectroscopy and the creation of novel technologies for probing glycan-protein interactions (e.g. glycan microarrays) have been seen. Likewise, the success of the Programs of Excellence in Glycoscience and those of us focused on disease have also ...more »

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

If my experience as a standing member of a study section and as a PI who submits greater

than ten R01 applications for every one funded, the reason for this gap in our knowledge is not an inability to

pursue such projects, nor is it a lack of desire within the field. The reason is that these studies never make it

through study section. Why? I believe the explanation is found in the nature of glycosylation: heterogeneity.

The strong bias in modern molecular-based science is that if something is not isolatable in a pure pristine

homogeneity, it cannot be studied. Not only is this short-sighted, it fundamentally betrays the nature of biology.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Part of the solution for these issues is improving education in glycobiology. The other part of the solution is below:

1. Provide opportunities for R01 and individual PI-focused fundamental glycobiology studies. Promote the dissection of fundamental pathways of regulation and function within in vivo settings so that we might

begin to convert disease correlation into pathways ripe for therapeutic targeting. There is nothing to translate to the clinic without detailed knowledge of these fundamental pathways.

2. Provide opportunities to expand local expertise and infrastructure in glycosciences across the country, rather than focusing on a few centers of strength. My experience tells me that investigators outside of glycobiology are far more likely to engage a local collaborator and/or core facility to help explore a glycan-related topic than to deal with a large center in a far-off university – at which they know no one.

3. There should be a push to promote individual labs with diverse interests and systems to broaden the impact by integrating glycobiology across multiple fields, rather than on concentrating expertise in a small number of large centers.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Brian Cobb

Voting

3 net votes
3 up votes
0 down votes
Active

Goal 4: Develop Workforce and Resources

Education in glycobiology is nearly non-existent

Aside from a handful of locations around the country, there are no local opportunities for the vast majority of PhD students to learn about glycobiology. A search on NIH Reporter for T32 grants with "glycobiology” reveals two grants (one NCI for cancer cell biology, one NIGMS for pharmacology). Neither of these grants are focused upon glycobiology. In fact, glycobiology is essentially never integrated into any standard ...more »

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

I have participated in the American Association of Immunologists Advanced Course in Immunology the past several years. I give a single 90 minute lecture on “glycoimmunology”. While this helps to plant the seed of interest in how glycans impact the immune response and host defense, it is not nearly enough. I suggest the following ideas to begin closing this gap in training:

 

1. Support glycobiology training grants (T32) throughout the country, and not just at the small number of institutions (Emory, UCSD, UGA/CCRC, Johns Hopkins) with existing strength; and 2. Provide an incentive to integrate glycobiology aspects into other T32 proposals targeting the NHLBI to improve integration of the field into the broader context.

 

An important point, however, is that outside of the institutions already mentioned, existing glycobiology training opportunities are rare due to a lack of support. Thus, the NHLBI must be willing to help seed nascent training programs through a targeted funding initiative. As a PI of an immunology-focused T32, it is clear to me that competition for a ‘standard’ T32 in glycobiology would be impossible within the standing CSR T32 panel.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Brian Cobb

Voting

2 net votes
2 up votes
0 down votes
Active