conducted a Web of Science review of published literature,4 and drew on a background paper prepared by the National Research Council (NRC) that summarizes a range of federal agency and researcher viewpoints on the field (McGowan and Bowman 2010).5 These materials provided an overview of the current landscape of glycoscience research efforts and informed development of the committee’s roadmap.


Glycoscience research is conducted worldwide in projects that cut across multiple disciplines. As can be seen from Figures 2-1 and 2-2, active glycoscience research is ongoing not only in North America (the United States and Canada) but also in Asia (People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, India—and Australia), in many countries in Europe, and in Latin America (Brazil).

A number of U.S. federal agencies support or conduct glycoscience research, including NIH (through multiple individual institutes), NSF, DOE, FDA, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). These agencies have complementary interests in the field, including the application of glycoscience for human health and in support of therapeutic drug and vaccine development (NIH, FDA, NIST), the application of glycoscience to plant biology (DOE, USDA), and advancing basic science understanding and fundamental tool development for the field (NSF, NIST, NIH, and others). Additional details and further examples are provided in Appendix B, but one notable federally funded initiative is the Consortium for Functional Glycomics, which currently receives legacy funding from NIH and involves the participation of hundreds of researchers worldwide. The efforts of participating research groups have made available a range of resources for addressing questions in glycoscience and health, including


4 A search of the Web of Science (WOS) Citation Index Expanded Database was conducted on May 15, 2012, using the following parameters: Topic: glycoscience* OR glycan* OR carbohydrate* OR *cellulos* OR glycobiolog* OR *saccharide*; years: 2005-2012; publication type: articles, meeting abstracts, and proceedings. The search produced 127,602 results.

5 The background paper was prepared at the request of NIH, which asked the NRC to reach out to researchers and federal program managers for their views on the state of glycomics and glycoscience and challenges facing the field, in order to better understand how to frame the design of the current study. The paper summarizes information received during this outreach, in which NRC staff and a small group of glycoscience experts spoke with approximately 40 scientists and program managers from government, academia, and industry. The paper was not reviewed per the NRC’s report review procedures and does not necessarily reflect the views of the NRC or its boards. The information it contained did help provide background material for the current study, particularly on the landscape of U.S. research efforts.

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