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Fighting diseases of global impact

The Institute for Glycomics, established 20 years ago, was so named due to its multidisciplinary research approach centred around ‘Glycomics’.

Our unique research expertise makes us the only institute of its kind in Australia and one of only a handful in the world.

We strive to be a world leader in the discovery and development of next generation drugs, vaccines and diagnostics in the fight against diseases of global impact.

The Institute’s research primarily targets prevention and cures for infectious diseases and cancer, with a focus on translational research.

The Institute for Glycomics engages with industry, other premier research institutes, philanthropic organisations, and governments from across the globe to build human capital to provide healthcare solutions to address some of the world’s most intractable diseases.


"What we have achieved over the last 20 years is truly extraordinary.

From humble beginnings and a handful of staff, we are now a substantial entity of talented individuals, encompassing hundreds of research scientists, students and other staff. Upon reflection, the past two decades have been exceedingly productive in terms of scientific discovery and translation in our unique field of glycomics.

And the future? Make no mistake, the fight against diseases is one of the world's, and our Institute's, most significant challenges, but I believe that the opportunities to solve these 21st Century problems are endless. And we're ready for the battle ahead."

Professor Mark von Itzstein AO, Founder & Director, Institute for Glycomics

Welcome to the Institute for Glycomics

What is glycomics?

Glycomics is the study of the carbohydrate or sugar language within our body, referred to as the ‘glycome’. Every cell in our body is decorated with these sugars, which are essential to our health and wellbeing.

These simple sugar molecules connect together to create powerful structures called ‘glycans’. Cancers and infectious diseases can take advantage of glycans, resulting in major health problems and potentially death.

The study of sugars – glycomics – is a relatively new field of study compared with genomics (the study of genes) and proteomics (the study of proteins).  However, glycomics is now a rising star thanks to the development of new tools to effectively identify sugar structures and their involvement in disease.

Our research focusses on the role that sugars play in disease and, using that knowledge, invent new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics to treat, prevent or diagnose cancer and infectious diseases.

Our vision

“To be a world-leader in the discovery and development of drugs, vaccines and diagnostics through the application of innovative multidisciplinary science in a unique research environment.”

Our mission

“Fighting diseases of global impact through discovery and translational science.”

Our research approach

A major research theme is discovering the role that sugars/carbohydrates play in disease and use that knowledge to develop new drugs and vaccines which will interfere with the biological process of disease. We provide a multidisciplinary approach to research and education, spanning medicinal and computational chemistry, various biological and physical sciences. This approach presents an exciting platform for the control of a wide-range of medical conditions such as infectious disease, cancer and other disorders.

Our fight against coronavirus

We're waging war on COVID-19


Would you like to find out more about us?

Download our Institute Profile, which provides a brief summary of who we are, what we do, and how we do it.

Click here to download


Our quarterly newsletter

We’re delighted to share with you our newly established quarterly newsletter, The Glycomics Tribune, where we aim to update you on our latest news, research projects, events, and special achievements here at the Institute for Glycomics.

  • To read our April to June 2020 newsletter, click here.
  • To read our July to September 2020 newsletter, click here.

If you would like to subscribe to our quarterly newsletter you can do so through the 'STAY UP TO DATE' form at the bottom of this page.

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