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

Monosaccharide

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?