Life Is Sweet

Biological Engineer Ram Sasisekharan:

Tackling Complex Carbohydrates

Ram Sasisekharan Deciphers the Code

Biological engineer Sasisekharan wants to unlock the healing power of sugars.

Biological sugars (carbohydrates)

Answer: In most life forms

Carbohydrates = Main energy source for the body

Carbs Made Simple

Types of carbohydrates:

Common Sugar Molecules


Disaccharide consisting of glucose and fructose chemically linked together

Complex Carbohydrates – Zillions of Flavors

Amino acids

Complex carbohydrates

Proteoglycans Have Many Roles

Open, Sesame

Paracellular transport, in which molecules pass between epithelial cells, appears to be gated by a "sugar code."

The code is specified by glycan molecules that coat the top, or apical, surface of these cells.

Heparin: Sugar-based Anticoagulant

Sweet Treatments

Research Applications

How might knowledge about sugar molecules gained by Sasisekharan help in the fight against cancer?