March 30, 1934–July 23, 2017
Peter Albershiem was a vocal advocate for the creation of a research center where scientists from different disciplines could collaborate on the science of carbohydrates, or the glycosciences as they are now referred to. He appreciated that living organisms produce a large number of carbohydrate-containing molecules that differ in their structures, complexities, and functions. He also understood that to fully understand these molecules was challenging and would require specialists with expertise in diverse areas including NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, molecular biology, genomics, animal and plant biology, microbiology, chemistry, physics and computational biology. Peter envisaged a center where such individuals could come together to share and exchange ideas and to develop new theories and concepts.
In 1984, Peter and Alan Darvill embarked on an ambitious goal – to establish a center dedicated to carbohydrate research. In 1985 they and 14 members of Peter’s lab moved from the University of Colorado in Boulder to the University of Georgia in Athens to establish the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center (CCRC). Since then the CCRC has grown beyond all expectations – a new building, a diverse research portfolio and many new faces. The CCRC is now home to 21 tenure track faculty and many non-tenure track faculty members. The faculty, visiting scientists, postdocs, technicians, graduate and undergraduate students, and staff now number over 300 people. Today, the CCRC continues to advance carbohydrate research and allow Peter Albersheim’s dream to move forward.
Read a personal reflection on Peter’s life and achievements.