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Heparin is a prominent and widely used clinical anticoagulant prepared from animal tissue. The heparin contamination crisis in 2008 led us to examine opportunities to utilize biotechnology to engineer improved heparin products. It also highlighted challenges in maintaining food and drug safety in a global marketplace. In undertaking our bioengineered heparin project, it became clear that we lacked a full understanding of heparin’s chemistry and biology, so we initiated an artificial Golgi and a metabolic engineering project to better understand heparin biosynthesis. These projects rely on using molecular biology to engineer organisms and nanotechnology to prepare devices on which biosynthesis can take place. Our work suggests that it is now becoming possible to mimic biological systems within artificial devices. This technology also has implications in human biology in the field of glycomics. Heparin and the related heparan sulfate are particularly important in stem cell differentiation, development, and disease biology. The Detail View series provides a platform for Rensselaer professors and researchers to share in-depth perspectives on their fields of inquiry. Inviting an exchange of ideas on campus and providing a window into a singular vision, these events are geared toward experts and non-experts alike. January 18, 2013 Curated by Emily Zimmerman http://empac.rpi.edu/events/2013/spring/robert-j-linhardt+ More details
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