Lara K. Mahal

Center for Systems & Synthetic Biology
Assistant Professor, Faculty

Research Group

Mahal Lab


PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 2000
B.A., University of California, Santa Cruz, 1995


Sloan Research Fellow, 2008
Beckman Young Investigator, 2004
Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellow, 2000
ACS Predoctoral Medicinal Chemistry Fellow, 1998
ARCS Scholar, 1997
Phi Beta Kappa, 1995
UC Regents Scholar, 1993


Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology; Center for Systems & Synthetic Biology

Developing Molecular Tools to Explore Glycobiology

Carbohydrates are critical in a myriad of important biological processes including intra-cellular communication, inflammation and bacterial and viral infections. Despite mounting evidence for the impact of glycosylation in modern biology, in vivo functional studies of these posttranslational modifications are not readily carried out. This is in part due to a lack of the appropriate tools. Our laboratory merges chemistry and biology to create new methods for the study of glycosylation. These include the creation and utilization of new probes for glycosylation, cellular sensors and array technologies. We focus on three major areas of interest: 1. Creation of tools for the study of beta-O-N-acetyl-D-glucosamine function, a cytosolic carbohydrate modification analogous to phosphorylation. 2. Invention of novel tools and methods for the profiling of cell-surface carbohydrate compositions. And 3. Application of bioinformatic and systems-based approaches to understanding the role of carbohydrates in metastasis and bacterial pathogenesis.

Project Scientists is a blog is meant to help students and others understand what the working life of a scientist in different careers is like.


Representative Publications

Pilobello, K.T.; Slawek, D.E.; Mahal, L.K. "A ratiometric lectin microarray approach to analysis of the dynamic mammalian glycome" Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 104 (2007): 11534-11539.

Hsu, K.-L.; Pilobello, K.T; Mahal, L.K. "Analyzing the dynamic bacterial glycome with a lectin microarray approach" Nature Chemical Biology 2 (2006): 153-157.

Sanki, A. and Mahal, L.K. "A One-Step Synthesis of Azide-Tagged Carbohydrates: Versatile Intermediates for Glycotechnology" Synlett 3 (2006): 455-459. A ratiometric lectin microarray approach to analysis of the dynamic mammalian glycome

Pilobello, L.; Krishnamoorthy, L.; Slawek, D.; Mahal, L.K. "Development of a Lectin Microarray for the Rapid Analysis of Protein Glycopatterns" ChemBiochem 6 (2005): 985-989.

Mahal, L.K. "Catching Bacteria with Sugar" Chemistry and Biology 11 (2004): 1602-1604.

Mahal, L. K.; Charter, N. W.; Angata, K.; Fukuda, M.; Koshland, D. E., Jr.; Bertozzi, C. R. "A Small Molecule Modulator of Poly-a-2,8-Sialic Acid Expression on Neurons and Tumor Cells" Science 294 (2001): 380-381.

Mahal, L. K.; Yarema, K. J.; Bertozzi, C. R. "Engineering Chemical Reactivity on Cell Surfaces Through Oligosaccharide Biosynthesis" Science 276 (1997): 1125-1128.