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The BloodCenter of Wisconsin will receive $5 million over the next five years to recruit and train early career scientists in an emerging area of research.

The BloodCenter is one of four academic and research centers to be awarded $5 million from the National Institutes of Health to launch a career development consortium related to glycosciences, the study of complex carbohydrate molecules and their roles in human development, health and disease.

Researchers are investing in the study of glycans, with evidence suggesting they play an important role in human development, health and diseases, and could prove important when designing and testing new therapeutics.

“Translational medicine fosters cross-functional collaborations between researchers and clinicians to facilitate precision-driven treatments for individualized therapy,” said Karin Hoffmeister, senior investigator with the BloodCenter of Wisconsin Blood Research Institute. “Scientists and clinicians successfully applied this approach to DNA and proteins; however the science of glycans (carbohydrates) has received little attention. Hence, glycoscience and translational aspects of glycosciences lag far behind other disciplines.”

The BloodCenter of Wisconsin Program for Career Development in Glycosciences is a partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin, Virginia Commonwealth University and Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York.

The program will recruit and train more than 12 early career glycoscientists over the next five years, with a focus on recruiting clinician scientists.

“Our goal is to identify and support a cadre of new junior investigators to become outstanding, independent clinician-scientists in translational glycobiology,” said Nancy Dahms, professor of biochemistry at the Medical College of Wisconsin and program co-director.

Other academic and research centers receiving funding include programs launched by the University of California-San Diego, Johns Hopkins University and Cleveland Clinic, and Harvard University.