Alex TimoshenkoWestern Science


Galectin family

Cell Biology of Galectins

Glycobiology is defined as the study of the structure, biosynthesis, and biological functions of carbohydrates (glycans), glycoconjugates, and glycan-binding proteins (lectins). My research aims to determine the role of specific family of mammalian lectins, galectins, in controlling cell adaptation to microenvironmental stress stimuli associated with cancer and other diseases. Galectins are a family of beta-galactoside-binding proteins made by many cells in the body that serve as the mediators of fundamental biological processes including cell growth, differentiation, and death. Galectin expression profiles vary between different tissues and are changed significantly under environmental and pathological stress conditions. Controlling the level of galectins in cells could provide innovative solutions for the discovery of new biomarkers and drugs of stress-associated cellular disorders. The main challenge is that at least sixteen different galectin genes have been identified in mammalian cells and it is not clear yet why cells express so many galectins and how/whether these galectins interact with each other. The overarching goal of my research program is to analyze the influence of different stress stimuli (hypoxia, oxidants, specific enzymatic inhibitors) and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress on the expression of all galectin genes in mammalian cells and to advance our understanding of the crosstalk between various members of the galectin network at transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels.

Prospective Students

Students who are interested in joining my research group should send a resume and unofficial transcript to Dr. Timoshenko