The Godula lab synthesizes nanoscale glycomaterials (sugar-modified polymers) and screens them for specific biological functions by microarray. These screens identify which structures behave most similarly to natural cell-surface glycoproteins, such as proteoglycans or mucins. Proteoglycans (PGs) regulate tumor progression and growth factor signaling during development, among other functions, and their mimetics (neoPGs) may be screened for growth factor binding to identify materials to direct stem cell fate and advance cell-based therapies. Mucins create mucous barriers; the Godula group is interested in understanding the roles of specific glycan structures and their density and orientation in preventing the passage of particulates and in minimizing pathogen adhesion.
Both of these areas have remained relatively understudied until recently, as synthesizing glycoproteins has traditionally been difficult and time-consuming and interrogating their functions in biological systems is challenging using standard genetic and biochemical methods. Godula, during his postdoctoral research under Carolyn Bertozzi at UC Berkeley, has introduced a novel approach that allows rapid generation of arrays of glycoprotein mimetics (J Am Chem Soc 2010). Further, he designed a means of creating arrays allowing spatially controlled display of glycans to yield native-like architectures (Angew Chem 2009).
Huang ML, Cohen M, Fisher CJ, Schooley RT, Gagneux P, Godula K. Determination of receptor specificities for whole influenza viruses using multivalent glycan arrays. Chem Commun 2015; 51(25):5326-9.
Huang ML, Smith RA, Trieger GW, Godula K. Glycocalyx remodeling with proteoglycan mimetics promotes neural specification in embryonic stem cells. J Am Chem Soc 2014; 136 (30): 10565–10568.
Godula K, Bertozzi CR, Synthesis of glycopolymers for microarray applications via ligation of reducing sugars to a poly(acryloyl hydrazide) scaffold, J Am Chem Soc 2010; 132(29): 9963-5.