MORGANTOWN , W.Va.Yalan Xing, a graduate student in the department of chemistry at West Virginia University, has conducted research that could be applied to the development of antibiotics, anti-cancer and anti-HIV medications.
She has been chosen to present her findings and discuss future challenges in the field of synthetic carbohydrate chemistry and glycobiology at the Gordon Research Conference on Carbohydrates from June 14-19 in Tilton, N.H.
Gordon Research Conferences are exclusive, by-invitation-only meetings that bring together only 100 scientists, and it is rare that a graduate student is extended the honor of attending. At the conference, Xing will have the opportunity to share her research on asymmetric synthesis of biologically active compounds with scientists and professors from around the world.
Yalan Xing is one of those rare, hardworking graduate students who is really focused on becoming a world class researcher on her own right,said George ODoherty, associate professor of chemistry and Xings advisor.I think this conference gives her and the University the opportunity to tell the world about the exciting scientific results being discovered at WVU . It also allows her to make a name for herself, which could lead to a future postdoctoral position and ultimately a professorship of her own.
Xing, who is a native of Shaanxi, China, is in her third year working with ODoherty on the use of asymmetric catalysis for the synthesis of biologically important carbohydrates and other natural products. They have coined their approachDe Novo Synthesis.At the meeting, Xing will present her work on the synthesis of rare and unnatural sugars and its application towards the discovery of new carbohydrate-based anti-cancer agents that could be used to treat breast cancer cells.
Carbohydrates are important mediators of many biological processes, and changes in their structures are associated with human genetic diseases, like muscular dystrophy, viral and bacterial infections, parasite invasion and survival, metastasis and tumor progression, and regulators of the immune system.
The conference offers a broad outlook on carbohydrates and numerous perspectives on how synthesis can be used for various tests that I can apply to my own research,said Xing, who hopes to pursue science in academia after graduation.
Xing graduated from Beijing University of Chemical Technology in Beijing, China, with a bachelors degree in chemistry in 2006, and is currently seeking a doctoral degree from WVU and working as a graduate research assistant. Her work has been published in several journals and she has presented at conferences in the region.