Ronald Schnaar

Image of Dr. Ronald Schnaar

Ronald Schnaar

Professor
Primary Appointment: 
Pharmocology and Molecular Sciences
Secondary Appointment: 
Neuroscience
(410) 955-8392

725 N. Wolfe St.
318 WBSB
Baltimore MD 21205

Research topic: 

Molecular basis of cell-cell interactions in the nervous and immune systems; glycobiology

Our work bridges from biochemical to preclinical translational studies to harness the power of glycobiology for therapeutic benefits. All cells are endowed with a diverse coat of glycans, their “glycocalyx,” which represents the face of the cell to the outside world. Glycans (complex sugar molecules) and complementary glycan-binding proteins (lectins) interact in highly specific ways to establish cell-cell interactions and regulate cell functions. Knowledge of these interactions provides opportunities to modify glycan-lectin interactions for therapeutic benefit. We discovered glycans on nerve cells that interact with a lectin on myelin to maintain axon health and regulate axon outgrowth, leading to our studies that modified nerve glycans in vivo to enhance axon regeneration and functional recovery after spinal cord injury. We also discovered glycans that regulate immune cell function in allergic inflammation, knowledge that could lead to new treatments for asthma. Expanding technology in glycobiology promises expanding opportunities for discovery and development of novel therapeutics.

Selected Publications: 

Yu H, Gonzalez-Gil A, Wei Y, Fernandes SM, Porell RN, Vajn K, Paulson JC, Nycholat CM, Schnaar RL. Siglec-8 and Siglec-9 binding specificities and endogenous airway ligand distributions and properties. Glycobiology (in press) https://doi.org/10.1093/glycob/cwx026, 2017.

Lopez PH, Aja S, Aoki K, Seldin MM, Lei X, Ronnett GV, Wong GW, Schnaar RL. Mice lacking sialyltransferase ST3Gal-II develop late onset obesity and insulin resistance. Glycobiology 27:129-139, 2017.

Schnaar RL. Glycobiology simplified: diverse roles of glycan recognition in inflammation. J Leukoc Biol 98:825-838, 2016.

Schnaar RL. Gangliosides of the vertebrate nervous system. J Mol Biol 428:3325-3336, 2016.

Schleimer RP, Schnaar RL, Bochner BS. Regulation of airway inflammation by Siglec-8 and Siglec-9 sialoglycan ligand expression. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 16:24-30, 2016.

Yoo SW, Motari MG, Susuki K, Prendergast J, Mountney A, Hurtado A, Schnaar RL. Sialylation regulates brain structure and function. FASEB J. 29:3040-3053, 2015.

Jia Y, Yu H, Fernandes SM, Wei Y, Gil AG, Motari MG, Vajn K, Stevens WW, Peters AT, Bochner BS, Kern RC, Schleimer RP, Schnaar RL. Expression of ligands for Siglec 8 and Siglec-9 in human airways and airway cells. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 135:799-810, 2015.