Spotlight: Society for Glycobiology

By | September 9, 2015

The Society for Glycobiology (SFG) represents more than 500 scientists working to promote knowledge of and encourage research on carbohydrate structures known as glycans and the biological systems in which they are found. Glycobiology is a growing field of biology with relevance to plant and animal research, as well as biomedicine, vaccines, and infectious diseases.

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the field, SFG oversees an Ambassador Program with many scientific societies, including 21 Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) member societies. As part of this program, SFG has organized sessions at The American Association of Immunologists (AAI) annual meeting, and Ambassadors frequently collaborate with other societies to raise awareness about the overlap of glycobiology with other research fields.

SFG recently announced the winners of two annual awards recognizing member achievement. Robert S. Haltiwanger, PhD, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Biomedical Glycosciences and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center of the University of Georgia, received the Karl Meyer Lectureship Award, which recognizes well-established scientists with currently active research programs who have made widely recognized contributions to the field of glycobiology. Vernon N. Reinhold, PhD, won the Rosalind Kornfeld Award for Lifetime Achievement in Glycobiology. Dr. Reinhold is a Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry as well as the Director of the Glycomics Center at the University of New Hampshire.

These awards will be presented at the Society’s Annual Meeting in San Francisco in December. This year’s meeting theme is Glycobiology: Accelerating Impact across the Biomedical Sciences. “This conference will bring together subject matter experts from fields of research that dovetail with glycobiology,” said SFG President J. Michael Pierce.  “This is an important time for us as we’re actively expanding the horizons of our field.”

While the Society has roots dating back to the 1960s, it was formally renamed the Society for Glycobiology in 1993. SFG joined FASEB in 2012 and is represented on FASEB’s Board of Directors by Ronald L. Schnaar, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences and Neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University. SFG President Pierce currently serves as FASEB’s Science Policy Committee Representative. Dr. Pierce is a Distinguished Research Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Georgia’s Complex Carbohydrate Research Center. SFG member Hudson H. Freeze, PhD, also serves as FASEB’s President-Elect and is the former Vice President for Science Policy for FASEB.  Dr. Freeze is Director of Human Genetics Program at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. Both Dr. Schnaar and Dr. Freeze are former Presidents of SFG.


To learn more about glycobiology, Essentials of Glycobiology is freely available through NCBI.