Establishment of Global Research Institute for Uncovering Glycan Organized Life Principle (UGLIP)

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Research Center Formation Project

Project overview & Effort

  • 研究拠点形成事業
  • 日本学術振興会

Establishment of global research institute for uncovering glycan organized life principle

In this research exchange, the goal is to establish an international research hub for glycan research, which is essential for understanding of life phenomena and the advancement of medicine.

Glycans cover all cell surfaces and are closely involved in aging, cancer, neurological diseases, autoimmune diseases, and pathogen infection. They are also deeply involved not only in diseases but also in many other life phenomena, and are attracting attention as molecules that hold the key to elucidating mechanisms that have not been fully understood through conventional research focusing on nucleic acids and proteins.

Gifu University and Nagoya University have each made outstanding contributions in the fields of "Glycochemistry and Imaging" and “Glycobiology and Medicine”, respectively (Gifu University: Ando Science 2019, Suzuki Nat. Chem. Biol. 2016, Kizuka Nat. Commun. 2018; Nagoya University: Komatsu Nat. Chem. Biol. 2018, Kitajima Nat. Commun. 2018), and have been at the forefront of these areas worldwide. Moreover, over the past decade, they have established an educational platform for glycan research named the "Young Researchers' Power Forum.“ In 2020, the two universities merged their management under the auspices of the Tokai National Higher Education and Research System. As a highlight of this collaboration, they established the Institute for Glyco-Core Research, iGCORE, bringing together glycan researchers from both universities to initiate pioneering glycan research.

In this research exchange, iGCORE will take center stage, collaborating with leading glycan research centers worldwide with a focus on targets such as "Viral and Bacterial Infections," "Neural Regeneration," and "Glycan Metabolic Disorders." Leveraging the foundational technologies of the Glycan Life Core, each collaborating institution will integrate their expertise. This includes comprehensive glycan analysis and structural biology (University of Lille, France), organic synthesis and probe development (University of Alberta, Canada, and Academia Sinica, Taiwan), and rational glycan-based drug discovery (Griffith University, Australia). This collaborative effort aims to advance the integrated understanding and application of the governing principles of life by glycans, referred to as "Glycan Life Principles.” This partnership is built upon a long history of engagement with partner institutions from various countries, including international collaborative research, student and postdoctoral exchange, and hosting international symposia and seminars. Furthermore, Gifu University has established university-level agreements with partner institutions, further enhancing research and educational exchanges. Moreover, researchers from iGCORE participating in this initiative also collaborate within the "Information and Life Medical Science Convolution on Global Alliance Excellence Graduate School," contributing to cutting-edge and distinctive life sciences education.

In this project, we aim to leverage the aforementioned exchanges and educational foundations to foster the development of numerous young glycan researchers, ranging from graduate students to postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty members. We strive to enhance the depth and expertise of the next generation. Furthermore, through international collaborative research, seminars, and internships, we seek to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct interdisciplinary fusion research on a global scale. This includes honing their abilities in presenting on the international stage, facilitating discussions, cultivating laboratory management skills as principal investigators, and improving their capacity to write international scholarly articles.

Overview & Organization


Conduct seminars and researcher exchanges to substantiate joint research and produce cutting-edge results.
Through joint research and personnel exchanges, we will build a strong network and establish project teams led by new young researchers. In addition to these new joint research projects, we will conduct cross-disciplinary research that extends ongoing joint research at the individual researcher level. Examples of specific research projects are listed below.

  • Establishment of a glycosylation platform (Japan, Canada, Taiwan)
  • Elucidation of viral and bacterial infection mechanisms and development of infection-protection molecules (Japan, Canada, Australia, France)
  • Demonstration of the "multilayered glycosylation switch," a regulatory mechanism for axon regeneration (Japan, Taiwan, France)
  • Elucidation of molecular mechanisms of glycometabolic diseases and development of diagnostic and therapeutic methods (Japan, France, Canada)