Glycoscience research is also relevant to the mandates of NSF directorates and divisions, including biological sciences, chemistry, and materials research. Although NSF has not developed funding solicitations specifically dedicated to glycoscience, it receives relevant proposals under a range of programs. An approximate and unofficial portfolio estimate indicates that approximately 5 percent of chemical synthesis submissions address carbohydrate synthesis strategies, whereas approximately 5 to 10 percent of biomaterials submissions involve polysaccharides or sugars in some fashion (personal communication from Kelsey Cook, Tingyu Li, and David Berkowitz, NSF Division of Chemistry, and David Brant, NSF Division of Materials Research, phone conversation, 11/18/2010).
FDA and NIST both maintain interests in the development of measurement technologies and standards relevant to health care products and therapeutics. Research conducted by these agencies includes efforts to better understand physiological interactions and trafficking of glycosylated protein therapeutics and carbohydrate-based vaccines, methods to monitor glycosylation in cell cultures for biologics production, and characterization and quantification of glycans and glycoproteins. These agencies are also interested in the creation of reference standards and materials, such as standards for the interpretation of glycan mass spectral data.
Finally, DOE and USDA are engaged in glycoscience, particularly as it relates to nonmammalian systems. Glycoscience efforts at DOE emphasize areas related to biofuel and bioproduct development, such as cell wall chemistry, synthesis, and deconstruction with a particular focus on plants and on nonmedical aspects of microorganisms. Three bioenergy research centers are supported by the DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER); the DOE Basic Energy Sciences (BES) office supports a network of 46 Energy Frontier Research Centers, including the Center for Lignocellulose Structure and Formation at Pennsylvania State University. BER also supports the DOE-Michigan State University Plant Research Laboratory and provides funding to one center within the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center (CCRC) at the University of Georgia—the DOE Center for Plant and Microbial Complex Carbohydrates—while BER supports a component of the DOE BioEnergy Science Center housed within the CCRC (Greene, 2011). Within USDA, glycoscience efforts are focused on improvement to bioconversion processes and on the creation of value-added agricultural materials and products.