- Dr. Tan uses an chemical glycobiology approach to study the glycosylation of industrial enzymes and therapeutic proteins. Protein glycosylation is an important post-translational modification. It enhances the functional diversity of proteins. However, because of the complex and variable nature of glycans attached to proteins, establishing quantitative relationships between glycan structures and their functions is difficult. The novel component of Dr. Tan’s research program is that they use chemical biology as a tool to study protein glycosylation. As compared to other available approaches, chemical synthesis is a more flexible and precise means by which to accomplish glycan structural modifications and amino acid mutations. This enables Dr. Tan and his co-workers to develop a better understanding of protein glycosylation, which in turn make it possible for them to develop enzymes and protein-based therapeutics with improved properties through glycoengineering.