Lamar Dodd Creative Research Award 2019
Lance Wells, professor in the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, conducts research that provides a foundation for understanding O-glycans, which play a critical role in determining protein structure, function and stability. Aberrations in these molecules are responsible for certain human diseases and also associated with disease risk factors. Wells’ laboratory work on O-glycans has shown a creative fusion of cutting-edge “omic” biochemical analytics with an ability to identify important and novel biological questions. He deploys an innovative combination of methodologies, including mass spectrometry, protein biochemistry, genetics, proteomics and cell and molecular biology. Wells’ experiments have greatly helped advance understanding of the roles of these molecules in biology. For instance, his research into abnormal O-glycans underlying congenital muscular dystrophy has provided a molecular understanding of the etiology of this disease. His work has also elucidated a number of high-potential therapeutic targets in disease states such as Alzheimer’s, Type 2 diabetes and cancer.