In October, the University of Georgia’s already impressive roster of Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholars is set to grow by one more member, when renowned cell biologist and biochemist Gerald Hart arrives from Johns Hopkins University to relaunch his lab at the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center.
Hart, who will be UGA’s 18th GRA Eminent Scholar and the sixth recruited to campus since 2015, is one of the world’s preeminent scholars of glycobiology, which is the study of sugar chains and their impact on living organisms.
“We continue to be grateful to GRA for its support as we recruit more of the country’s—and the world’s—top scientists to come to the University of Georgia,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “These individuals represent centuries of collective experience at the forefront of science and technology, and the benefits to Georgia that come from their working at our university are considerable and long-lasting.”
At Johns Hopkins, Hart was the DeLamar Professor of Biological Chemistry and served as chair of the Department of Biological Chemistry for the past 26 years. Hart is the founder of Glycobiology, the leading journal in the field, and served as its editor-in-chief for 12 years.
Hart earned his reputation in the early 1980s when he and a colleague discovered that the glycan O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc, pronounced o-gluck-nac) played a central role in adding carbohydrates to molecules within the nucleus and cytoplasm of cells. Since then, he’s investigated O-GlcNAc’s connection to diseases such as diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, and cancer.
Also, Hart is no stranger to CCRC, having served on one of its advisory committees since 1987, and he had high praise for the research center that he’ll soon call home.
“CCRC is the best place on the planet for doing glycoscience—there’s nowhere else like it,” Hart said. “It always comes down to the people. Every single faculty member at CCRC is a leader in his or her own field. When it comes to glycoscience, UGA is above what most institutions can do.”