Developing cutting edge chemical and systems biology tools to understand glycosylation in human health and disease.
Our current and ongoing research interests can be categorized into three main categories:
miRNA Proxy Approach
Identifying and leveraging glycan-control mechanisms to decode the functional glycome.
Determining the roles of glycans in host-pathogen interactions and host response.
Identifying glycans driving cancer pathogenesis.
For the past 17 years, the Mahal Lab has been on the leading edge of creating and utilizing systems-based approaches to decode the glycome. In 2005, we created lectin microarray technology – a simple, yet powerful tool to profile the glycosylation of complex samples.
Our integration of the glycome with other data has led to insights in cancer metastasis, a new understanding of glycan regulation via miRNA, and a new hypothesis on the role of miRNA in identifying functionally relevant genes – the miRNA proxy approach.
Glycans, also known as carbohydrates, oligosaccharides, or sugars, are now understood to be pivotal in nearly all biological processes and could be part of novel solutions to many health problems. For example, the ABO blood group system is based on different glycan structures and impacts the compatibility of blood transfusions, transplants, and even COVID-19 susceptibility.
Both the University of Alberta and the Mahal Lab are committed to supporting equity, diversity, and inclusivity among our staff and students. The Mahal Lab is involved in multiple, diverse collaborations. Our lab is also involved in developing flu vaccines that retain their effectiveness in the most vulnerable, high-risk populations through the Center for Influenza Vaccine Research for High-Risk Populations (CIVR-HRP), part of the Collaborative Influenza Vaccine Innovation Centers (CIVICs).
Congrats to Shuhui and our collaborators on publishing this at ACS Infectious Diseases, read more at https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsinfecdis.2c00082
Our paper using Machine Learning to detail the specificity of commercially available lectins is now published at ACS Chemical Biology. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acschembio.1c00689