Dr. Ryan Weiss received his B.S. in chemistry in 2008 at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA. He then received his Ph.D. in chemistry in 2015 at the University of California, San Diego under the supervision of Prof. Yitzhak Tor. He then moved to the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, where he worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Prof. Jeffrey Esko. Dr. Weiss began his independent career as an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Georgia in January 2021. His current research interests include drug discovery and using genomic tools to understand the regulation of glycosylation in human diseases.
Complex carbohydrates play important roles in many cellular processes and their dysregulation has been implicated in many disease states, including cancer, pathogen infection, and rare genetic disorders. The mammalian glycome contains extensive structural and functional heterogeneity that can vary temporally and spatially during development and in different tissues. Currently, little is known about the regulation of the non-template driven assembly of these ubiquitous post-translational modifications. My current research interests are focused on studying the structure, function, and genomic regulation of complex carbohydrates in human biology and disease. In particular, my laboratory is focused on identifying the transcriptional and epigenetic programs responsible for temporal and spatial control of glycosylation using genome-wide, molecular, and chemical approaches. In addition, we are dedicated to developing pharmacological and cell-based tools to aid in the discovery of novel targets and therapies for modulating glycan and glycoprotein expression in human diseases.
- Functional Genomics of Glycosaminoglycan Biosynthesis
In the Weiss lab, we utilize pooled genome-wide CRISPR screening approaches, genetic engineering, and bioinformatic tools to identify the molecular mechanisms responsible for the regulation of glycosaminoglycan biosynthesis in human cells.
- Drug Discovery for Rare Genetic Disorders
Many human diseases are caused by rare mutations in genes involved in the biosynthesis and/or catabolism of glycans. In the Weiss lab, genetic engineering, high-throughput drug screening, and cell-based disease models are utilized to uncover novel drug targets and therapeutic agents to treat these rare genetic disorders.
- Epigenetic and Transcriptional Regulation of Glycan Assembly
Epigenetic changes alter the physical structure and organization of DNA, and transcription factors regulate the expression of their genomic targets. Currently, little is known about the genomic regulation of glycosylation. The Weiss lab aims to use state-of-the-art genomic tools and pharmacological agents to identify and modulate novel regulatory pathways responsible for controlling glycosylation in mammalian cells.