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The University of Georgia Complex Carbohydrate Research Center
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CCRC History

CCRC Milestones

1985  CCRC established by a 16-member research team from the University of Colorado

1986  DOE designates CCRC as National Center for Plant and Microbial Complex

1989  NIH designates CCRC as National Resource Center for biomedical complex carbohydrate research

1989  CCRC moves into new 45,000 sq.ft. facility to accommodate 80 members

1990  New 5,000 sq.ft. NIH-funded addition houses computer facilities and 600 MHz NMR spectrometer

1997  36,000 sq.ft. addition completed to house 800 MHz NMR spectrometer

2003  NIH funds $6.7 million grant for a National Resource Center in Biomedical Glycomices

2003  NSF funds Functional Genomics Center: A Monoclonal Antibody Toolkit for Functional Genomics of Plant Cell Walls

2003  200 scientist, students and staff move into a new 140,000 sq.ft. facility that include a room for 900 MHz NMR

2003  NIH designates CCRC as National Resource Center for Integrated Glycotechnology

2006  NCI funds Tumor Glycomics Laboratoy for Discovery of Pancreatic Center Markers

2007  Albersheim Symposium Photo Gallery

2007  BESC (BioEnergy Science Center) Selected for funding by the DOE

2008  NIH grant to study stem cells and cancer cells

2012  Geert-Jan Boons recipient of Creative Research Award

2013  Renewed funding for BESC (BioEnergy Science Center) by the DOE

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Annual Glycoscience Symposium, since 2005

The Complex Carbohydrate Research Center (CCRC) was founded at the University of Georgia (UGA) in September 1985 to answer the national need for a center devoted to increasing knowledge of the structures and functions of complex carbohydrates. Evidence was rapidly growing of the key roles these molecules play in a broad range of biological recognition and regulatory phenomena -- cellular communication, gene expression, immunology, organism defense mechanisms, growth and development. As this area of research had been a relatively under-funded and under-staffed endeavor in the United States, it was essential to direct more research attention and investment toward elucidating the chemical structures and biological functions of the oligo- and polysaccharides involved in these processes, to train more glycoscientists, and to bring together the multidisciplinary expertise and the expensive instrumentation required to serve the scientific community.

UGA recruited directors Peter Albersheim and Alan Darvill and their 16-member research team from the University of Colorado to establish the CCRC. The group first occupied rented laboratory and office space in the USDA's Richard B. Russell Agricultural Research Center until construction on its own 40,000 sq. ft. building was completed in the summer of 1989. The CCRC had grown to 80 members by then. An approximately 5,000 sq. ft. wing was added to the main building in 1990 to house the center's computer facilities and 600-MHz nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer. A new 36,000 sq. ft. addition was completed in November 1997. In 2003, construction was completed on a three-story, approximately 140,000 sq.ft. facility, allowing the CCRC to position itself as a leader in the growing field of medical glycobiology/glycotechnology. This facility includes a Georgia Research Alliance-supported regional high-field NMR center. Our new facility was the first large scale research building to be funded by the Georgia Real Estate Foundation. (See the Facilities section of this site for more details about the CCRC's equipment and facilities.)

The CCRC's 17 interdisciplinary research groups are led by 17 tenure-track faculty members. CCRC scientists study the structures and functions of the complex carbohydrates of plants, microbes, and animals to determine the role of carbohydrates in growth and development, host-pathogen interactions, and disease processes. To investigate the chemistry and the physiological, developmental, and molecular biology of complex carbohydrates, the 17 research groups at the CCRC develop and use advanced analytical techniques, including mass spectrometry, NMR spectroscopy, chemical and enzymatic synthesis, computer modeling, artificial neural networks, tissue culture, immunocytochemistry, and recombinant genetics.

Technology transfer, collaborations with industry and academia, and the provision of carbohydrate analytical services to the scientific community are an integral part of the CCRC's mission. CCRC personnel are presently engaged in over 130 collaborations with scientists at universities and corporations in Georgia, the U.S., North and South America, Europe, and Asia.

The CCRC is the home to the University of Georgia Cancer Center and to four federally designated centers for carbohydrate research: the Department of Energy (DOE)-funded Center for Plant and Microbial Complex Carbohydrates, the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/NCRR Research Resource for Integrated Glycotechnology, the NIH/NCRR Integrated Technology Resource for Biomedical Glycomics, and an NSF Functional Genomics Center: A Monoclonal Antibody Toolkit for Functional Genomics of Plant Cell Walls. As a federal center, the CCRC provides analytical services to scientists in university, government, or industrial laboratories who are interested in complex carbohydrate molecules and offers two one-week, hands-on, laboratory training courses every summer in the techniques used to analyze complex carbohydrates. More information on routine and specialized analyses available as well as the training courses can be obtained by entering the Services link.

CCRC faculty members hold joint appointments in the departments of biochemistry and molecular biology, chemistry, plant biology, and plant pathology; students can apply to conduct their graduate research, undergraduate projects, or internships with center faculty. The CCRC also trains postdoctoral research associates and visiting scientists from the U.S. and around the world in the principles, methods, and analytical techniques used to study complex carbohydrates. The center is supported by federal, state, industrial, and foundation funds and brings in around $10 million annually in research funds.

Funding for the CCRC is provided by the
Georgia Research Alliance,
National Institutes of Health,
U.S. Department of Energy,
National Science Foundation,
and other industrial and nonprofit sources.