A History of Excellence

The University of Alberta is known for its concentration in glycosylation researchers, and has historically been an international leader in glycomics. Not only are we helping to secure the resources needed for research, we’re also bolstering our presence on the local, national and global stages.

World's 1st Chemical Synthesis of Sucrose

Beginning in the early 1960s, Dr. Raymond Lemieux, a University of Alberta alumnus, and his colleagues were the first to chemically synthesize sucrose. This paved the way for the creation of new antibiotics and semisynthetic blood group antigens. This was after numerous unsuccessful attempts by others – this monumental task was even dubbed “the Mount Everest of organic chemistry” at the time!

Where Does GIA Come In?

Raymond Lemieux’s research program evolved into the Alberta Ingenuity Centre for Carbohydrate Science in 2002 and subsequently the Alberta Glycomics Centre (AGC, 2012-2018). Our strength in glycosylation research made the University of Alberta the natural host for the national Canadian Glycomics Network (GlycoNet), part of the National Centers of Excellence, in 2015. This network has brought enhanced visibility and funding to glycosylation research nationwide.

In 2022, the Glycomics Institute of Alberta (GIA) was officially launched as a University of Alberta Institute. The mission of GIA is to focus on local Alberta glycoscience and glycomics, connecting researchers at the University of Alberta and beyond. Today, GIA and GlycoNet work together to build on the foundation laid all those years ago to bring meaningful results in medicine and biotechnology to Albertans and all Canadians.

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