Established 21 years ago through Griffith University and Queensland Government investment, the Institute for Glycomics has become one of Australia’s flagship multidisciplinary biomedical research institutes. With its remarkably unique research approach centred around glycomics, the Institute has established itself as a core facility nationally and internationally. This has, in turn, attracted world-renowned researchers and collaborators from the four corners of the globe.  

But what is glycomics and why is the research conducted by the Institute important to us as individuals and as a global community? 

The sugar language in our body 

Every cell in our body is decorated with sugars which are essential to our health and wellbeing. Glycomics is the study of this sugar ‘language’ within our body, referred to as the glycome. Unfortunately, this sugar language can also be used negatively by our body, resulting in major health problems.  

A primary focus of the research undertaken by the Institute for Glycomics is discovering the role that sugars play in disease. With this knowledge, researchers can develop new diagnostics—drugs and vaccines that can be used to diagnose, treat and prevent diseases such as cancers, infectious diseases and neurodegenerative disorders.  

Institute for Glycomics 2020 highlights 

Established in 2000, and now comprising over 200 researchers and support staff, the Institute for Glycomics is a world-leader in fighting diseases of global impact through discovery and translational science.   

An infographic displaying Institute highlights, including community engagement, major research themes, clinical trials, 4 patents, engagement with industry partners,  100+ publications per year, 17,931 citations over 10 years, dollar for dollar philanthropic funding.

Infographic supplied by the Institute of Glycomics

The future 

With its outstanding track record in translating biomedical discoveries to the clinic, there is little doubt that the Institute for Glycomics will play a major role in the discovery and development of next generation drugs, vaccines and diagnostics with the power to change our future. 

Infectious diseases pose some of the world’s most significant health challenges, claiming over 17 million lives globally every year. There is an overwhelming need to find new ways to combat diseases caused by bacterial, viral, parasitic and fungal pathogens. Also, the increasing emergence of antibiotic-resistance is a global concern, so there is an urgent need to discover new approaches to address antibiotic-resistance and the lack of effective vaccines for some of the world’s most serious viral and bacterial pathogens. 

It is estimated that about 1 in 6 deaths globally is due to cancer—a debilitating disease that claims the lives of over 9 million people every year. The Institute’s cancer glycomics research specialists aim to reverse these alarming statistics through the discovery and development of new scientific technologies to fight the disease. 

Photograph of the Institute for Glycomics building.

Image courtesy of the Institute of Glycomics

World-leading research 

Read these recent blogs about the real-life impact of the research being undertaken at the Institute for Glycomics: 

You can learn more about glycomics research through our open access research on Griffith Research Online: 

Access Griffith Research Online for more glycomics research. 

A large group of researchers are standing in front of the Institute of Glycomics building.

Image courtesy of the Institute of Glycomics