The Complex Carbohydrate Research Center (CCRC) was founded at the University of Georgia (UGA) in September 1985 to answer the national need for a center devoted to increasing knowledge of the structures and functions of complex carbohydrates. Evidence was rapidly growing of the key roles these molecules have in biological recognition and regulatory phenomena, in cellular communication, gene expression, immunology, diseases, growth and development. As this area of research had been a relatively under-funded and under-staffed endeavor in the United States, it was essential to direct more research attention and investment toward elucidating the chemical structures and biological functions of the diverse carbohydrates involved in these processes, to train more glycoscientists, and to bring together the multidisciplinary expertise and the expensive instrumentation required to serve the scientific community.
The University of Georgia recruited Peter Albersheim and Alan Darvill and their 14-member research team from the University of Colorado to establish the CCRC. The group first occupied laboratory and office space in the USDA’s Richard B. Russell Agricultural Research Center. The CCRC then moved to its own newly-constructed 40,000 sq. ft. building in the summer of 1989. The CCRC then grew to 80 individuals. An 5,000 sq. ft. wing was added to the main building in 1990 to house the center’s computer facilities and 600-MHz nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer. This was followed in November 1997 by an 36,000 sq. ft. addition to house new laboratories. In 2003, construction was completed on a three-story, 140,000 sq. ft. facility. This allowed the CCRC to position itself as a leader in the growing field of medical glycobiology and glycotechnology. This facility includes a Georgia Research Alliance-supported regional high-field NMR center. Our new facility was the first large scale research building to be funded by the Georgia Real Estate Foundation.