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Realizing the promise of glycobiology

Scientific Advisors

Jeffrey D. Esko, Ph.D., Co-founder and Scientific Advisor
Dennis Carson, M.D., Scientific Advisor


Jeffrey D. Esko, Ph.D.,
Co-founder and Scientific Advisor

Dr. Esko is currently a Professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at University of California at San Diego and Co-director of the Glycobiology Research and Training Center.

He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison (1976-1980), and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Molecular Biology Institute at UCLA (1980-1983). Dr. Esko’s pioneering approach using mutant cells in his lab at the University of Alabama, Birmingham (1983-1996) and then later using genetically altered mice at the University of California, San Diego has helped bring to light many key functions played by glycans. His work has lead to over 180 publications and manuscripts, the first textbook in the field (Essentials of Glycobiology), a March of Dimes Basil O’Connor Award (1984 -1986), a 10 year NIH MERIT award (1999-2010), the Karl Meyer award from the Society for Glycobiology (2007), an honorary medical degree from the University of Uppsala (2010), and the IGO award from the International Glycoconjugate Organization (2011). Dr. Esko was President of the Society for Glycobiology in 2002-2003, serves on numerous advisory boards to professional societies, journals and organizations.

Dr. Esko recognized the importance of glycans as drug targets early on and served on the Scientific Advisory Board for one of the original glycobiology biotech companies, Glycomed (1990 – 1995). Since then he has had continuous demand for his expertise in glycobiology and has consulted for a number of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Technology developed by Dr. Esko has opened the glycobiology field to modern drug discovery.


Dennis Carson, M.D.
Scientific Advisor

Dennis Carson, M.D. is an internationally respected immunologist and cancer biologist who was named as director of the Rebecca and John Moores UCSD Cancer Center in 2003. Dr. Carson has been a member of the Cancer Center since he joined the UCSD School of Medicine faculty in 1990 as professor of medicine and director of the Stein Institute for Research on Aging (SIRA). He is perhaps best known for his landmark work in developing a new agent called 2-chlorodeoxyadenosine, or 2-CdA, for the treatment of hairy cell leukemia. This drug, is now marketed as Leustatin. He has also discovered a number of cancer-producing gene mutations and has developed therapies for patients with these mutations. He was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 2003. He has founded four companies: Vical, Inc., a gene therapy company; Dynavax Technologies, a biopharmaceutical company; Triangle Pharmaceuticals, an anti-virus company now called Gilead; and Salmedix, an anti-cancer company. Dr. Carson earned his medical degree in 1970 at Columbia University, and completed his residency at UCSD. He received post-doctoral training at the Salk Institute, the National Institutes of Health and UCSD. Prior to joining the UCSD faculty, Dr. Carson was affiliated with The Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation as division head of immunology. He currently holds an adjunct appointment with The Scripps Research Institute. A prolific researcher, he has published nearly 450 scientific papers, and is an inventor on more than 60 U.S. and international patents.