Distinguished Research Professor 2014
Kelley Moremen, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, is one of the leading figures in the field of glycobiology research. Glycans are tiny chains of sugar molecules that cover the surface of every living cell in the human body—providing the necessary surface coating for those cells to communicate, replicate and survive. But they are also involved in the development of serious diseases, including cancer, viral and bacterial infections, diabetes and cardiovascular disorders. Moremen has pioneered scientific techniques that tell us how these molecules function and how they might be exploited in the treatment of human disease. He is particularly well-known for his dozens of published papers on the production and characterization of the enzymes that create and degrade glycan structures and their use in studying glycan functions in health and disease. In addition, his lab is at the forefront of studies on genetic regulation of glycan synthesis with goals of understanding how diverse glycan structures are controlled in animal systems. Moremen is also part of many large collaborative projects related to stem cell glycomics, technology development and disease treatment that promise to speed discovery in Georgia and throughout the world.