News Release: Research, School of Medicine

Dec. 4,  2008

Emory Professor Richard D. Cummings Receives Highest Award from Society for Glycobiology

Richard D. Cummings, PhD, the William Patterson Timmie Professor and chair of the Department of Biochemistry at Emory University School of Medicine, has been selected as the winner of the 2008 Karl Meyer Award from the Society for Glycobiology. The award was recently presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Glycobiology in Ft. Worth, Texas.

The Meyer award is given annually to a scientist who has made widely recognized major contributions to the field of glycobiology, which is the study of the structures and functions of complex carbohydrates. Cummings is a pioneer in the field, with a wide range of discoveries on the biosynthesis of glycoproteins and their recognition by carbohydrate-binding proteins and antibodies.

His work has been fundamental in understanding the processes underlying the binding and adhesion of white blood cells and their receptors in inflammation; roles of glycoconjugates as antigens in human parasites; molecular signaling in human and animal cells through carbohydrate binding proteins; and the molecular defects in glycoprotein biosynthesis associated with human genetic diseases. 

In addition, Cummings' group has helped to promote new technological developments in the field and his laboratory includes the Protein-Carbohydrate Interaction Core H of the NIH-funded Consortium for Functional Glycomics. 

Cummings has published over 180 peer-reviewed manuscripts in highly respected biomedical journals, including Nature, Journal of Cell Biology, Cell, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Journal of Immunology, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Cancer Research, Glycobiology and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He is a co-editor of the first textbook and key reference text in the field of glycobiology, entitled Essentials of Glycobiology, recently published in its 2nd edition in print and on-line.

Beyond his scientific contributions, Cummings has been a mentor to many students and post-doctorate trainees. He has served as president of the Society for Glycobiology, as chair of the Gordon Conference of Glycobiology and as a member of a number of NIH study sections.


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include schools of medicine, nursing, and public health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; the Emory Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.3 billion budget, 17,000 employees, 2,300 full-time and 1,900 affiliated faculty, 4,300 students and trainees, and a $4.9 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

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