Prof. Sasisekharan has been a professor of Biological Engineering at MIT since 1996 and served as the Director of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology from 2008-12. Sasisekharan received his B.S. in Physical Sciences from Bangalore University, his M.S. in Biophysics from Harvard University, and his Ph.D. in Medical Sciences from Harvard Medical School.
The Sasisekharan Laboratory employs multidisciplinary strategies to develop and integrate technologies to further study complex polysaccharides important to a host of disease processes. A central goal is to ultimately develop novel therapeutic approaches to alleviate suffering from disease and promote overall human health. The Sasisekharan Lab has put forth efforts in building and applying various glycomics technologies.
Under Sasisekharan’s direction, his research group has put in place numerous strategies to tackle important problems in glycomics. Critically, the lab tackles fundamental aspects of glycan-protein interactions bringing diverse approaches to bear in this domain. The lab has studied glycan structure on the one hand (both glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and branched glycans) through the use of orthogonal analytical approaches (NMR, MS, enzymology etc.,). In a simultaneous and complementary effort, the group developed approaches to describe protein-glycan interactions using structure-based tools developed by the Sasisekharan LaB, and experimental/heuristic approaches such as through conformational studies using NMR, as well as informatics platform. Finally, the group directly probes important elements of glycan-protein interactions, such as specificity and affinity using a novel set of array and tissue-based studies.
The Sasisekharan Lab originated its efforts with GAGs (such as heparin) to build the needed analytical and enzymatic tools with defined substrate-product profiles to understand their structure-function relationships. It has became ever clearer to Sasisekharan and his researchers that to truly understand glycan-protein interactions as a whole –given the ‘analog’ continuum of their interaction features – what is needed is to capture diverse sets of interactions to help refine a strategy for this integrated (glycan and protein based) ‘glycomics tool’ building.
Technologies developed in the Sasisekharan Lab have resulted in the founding of multiple local biotechnology companies. Please read more about this on Sasisekharan’s lab website.