Folio – Scientists develop new tools to study the immune system

Scientists develop new tools to study the immune system

Press Release

New research lays foundation for future breakthroughs in fighting neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.


“Our lab studies sugar-binding receptors called Siglecs that control cells in our immune system,” explained Matthew Macauley, assistant professor in the Faculty of Science and Canada Research Chair in Chemical Glycoimmunology. “Studying the sugar-binding properties of Siglecs is challenging because these biochemical interactions are weaker than typical protein-protein interactions.”

To address this, the research team used a velcro-like effect called avidity to strengthen these interactions, making them easier to study.

“These advances are facilitating our understanding of the roles that Siglecs play in neurodegeneration and cancer,” said Macauley.

Territorial Acknowledgement

The University of Alberta, its buildings, labs, and research stations are primarily located on the traditional territory of Cree, Blackfoot, Métis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, and Ojibway/Saulteaux/Anishinaabe nations; lands that are now known as part of Treaties 6, 7, and 8 and homeland of the Métis. The University of Alberta respects the sovereignty, lands, histories, languages, knowledge systems, and cultures of First Nations, Métis and Inuit nations.

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