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.

Host-Pathogen Glycomics

Determining the roles of glycans in host-pathogen interactions and host response.

Cancer Glycomics

Identifying glycans driving cancer pathogenesis.

Dr. Lara Mahal is the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Glycomics

One of 15 current chairholders, acknowledged as a world leader in glycomics since 2019.

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.

Discovering Novel Health Solutions through Glycomics Research

Our lab utilizes systems-based approaches to identify the role of glycosylation in human health and disease.

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.

The Mahal Lab is Dedicated to Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity

We’re passionate about creating an inclusive workplace that promotes and values diversity.

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).

Mahal Lab News

Keep up with the latest lab news and share in our excitement for glycoscience.

Mahal Lab members participated in the Canadian Glycomics Symposium in Banff

Great job, team! And congrats to Faezeh for your outstanding poster award!

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Dr. Mahal is featured in a new Nature article on the challenges women face in STEM

Read more at, featuring a photo taken by Tabea

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Paper on host glycomic response to bacterial sepsis published

Congrats to Shuhui and our collaborators on publishing this at ACS Infectious Diseases, read more at

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Congratulations to Dr. Shuhui Chen on completing her Ph.D.!

You pulled off your thesis defense with an excellent presentation! Great work!

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Paper on lectin specificity published

Our paper using Machine Learning to detail the specificity of commercially available lectins is now published at ACS Chemical Biology.

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Read our latest paper on miRNA regulation

Congratulations to Thu on her latest paper on miRNA regulation, showcasing our new miRFluR technology. Read it here.

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