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History of the UC San Diego Glycobiology Research & Training Center (GRTC)

1990: Formation of a UCSD Cancer Center Glycobiology Program (A. Varki, program leader) includes Nobel Laureate George Palade, and Marilyn Farquhar founding Chair of Cellular & Molecular Medicine.

1991: Program establishes Glycotechnology Core Resource (Director, Adriana Manzi).

1990s: Recruitment of Jamey Marth and Jeffrey Esko increases critical mass in the program .

1995–2010: First Program Project focused on Glycoscience, from National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

1997: First Annual San Diego Glycobiology Symposium (SDGS), with Sanford Burnham Prebys Institute. Now planning for year 23, the Symposium provides an informal venue for researchers across California to further collaborations, learn about other groups, and exchange information about latest advances and technology.

 Survey of academic peer-review funded investigators who used the core resource finds much interest in continued usage, and in better organizing glycobiology research and access to glycoanalytics.

 "Essentials of Glycobiology" Textbook Edited by GRTC Leaders and others.
Comments from Nobel Laureates

GRTC ORU approved by Chancellor Dynes (A. Varki, Director; J. Esko, Associate Director).

2003: Vice-Chancellors Holmes and Attiyeh approve formal Co-Directorship by A. Varki and J. Esko.

 First 5-year ORU review. Highly favorable, recognizing strong impact on UC faculty research, even while minimizing costs and avoiding complex organizational structures. GlycoAnalytics Core Resource commended for huge positive impact on researchers across the country. Highly favorable comments regarding teaching through courses, expansion of research opportunities through the ORU-sponsored Glycobiology Symposium. The committee concluded that the GRTC "is now...possibly the single most important center in the world, for research in glycobiology" and "unanimously expressed great enthusiasm for the success of the ORU." Subsequent 10th and 15th year reviews have been equally laudatory.

 Co-Directors each recognized with two highest honors in the field, the Karl Meyer Award of the Society for Glycobiology and the International Glycoconjugate Organization (IGO) Award.

 "Essentials of Glycobiology", Second Edition, Co-edited by GRTC Leaders and others. First textbook with full online access at National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) National Library of Medicine.
Comments from Nobel Laureates

 NHLBI Program of Excellence in Glycosciences, National Consortium Coordinator for 6 Centers.

 GRTC leadership participates in generating the National Research Council Report: "Transforming Glycoscience: A Roadmap for the Future".

 First undergraduate course in Glycoscience in the country offered.

 "Essentials of Glycobiology", Third Edition, openly available at NCBI. Textbook Edited by GRTC Leaders and others. Established as the primary textbook in the field. All proceeds benefit Glycoscience.
Comments from Nobel Laureates

 Rebranding of GlycoAnalytics Core as a campus resource and CRO.

 Amalgamation of Histology and Hematology Cores as Comparative Phenotyping Core.

GRTC Coordination of Glycoscientists worldwide to create a common Symbol Nomenclature for Glycans and the first NCBI Glycans Page, which will coordinate Glycobioinformatics internationally .

 GRTC selected as one of four NHLBI K12 Career Development Programs as well as being designated national administrative coordination center for this consortium.

 Recommendations of 15th Year ORU Review. Review Committee finds that GTRC brings value to UCSD campus and to scientific community at large:

  1. Creation of a community of researchers with a shared interest in glycobiology
  2. Provision of training and education in glycobiology
  3. Annual Glycobiology Symposium
  4. Academic excellence of each of the members of the Core Faculty
  5. Provision of infrastructure that facilitates grant applications
"It is impressive to the committee that the GTRC has achieved excellence in so many categories with limited institutional support that it receives…commended for excellence and outstanding leadership of co-directors and accomplishments…unanimously recommends continuation of ORU and reappointment of co-directors for another 5-year term."

2018: Vice-Chancellor Brenner approves GRTC renewal and recommends start of search for future leadership. Suggestion is to recruit younger Associate Directors.

2022: The GRTC announces the transition of its over 25 years of leadership by Jeff Esko and Ajit Varki to its new Co-Directors, Kamil Godula and Amanda Lewis.