2018 President’s Innovator Award Winner

The 2018 President’s Innovator Award was presented to Dr. Henrik Clausen, Professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, and Head of the Copenhagen Center for Glycomics (Centre of Excellence, Danish National Research Foundation).

Dr. Clausen received his D.D.S. and D. Sc. Degrees in dentistry and glycobiology at the University of Copenhagen and was a Research Fellow and Research Assistant Professor at the University of Washington with Dr. Sen-Itiroh Hakomori, working on blood group related carbohydrates, glycosyltransferases and genes. In 1990, he returned to the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at University of Copenhagen to form a glycobiology research group. Since 2007 he has been head of a Center of Excellence in Glycomics funded by the Danish National Research Foundation. Research at the Center is primarily focused on protein O-glycosylation, with isolation, cloning, and expression of many human glycosyltransferases involved in the biosynthesis of O-glycans.

Dr. Clausen’s work covers considerable ground in efforts to provide a basic understanding of genetic regulation and biosynthetic mechanisms of protein glycosylation, immunity to glycans and glycoproteins, consequences of glycosylation deficiencies in diseases, all with an eye on biomedical applications. His work has led to >285 published papers, 35 reviews and book chapters, and 51 issued patents.

The Clausen lab recently developed novel strategies to isolate and characterize cellular O-glycoproteomes by targeted gene disruptions, combined with lectin chromatography and mass spectrometry. The group has also taken a global “glycogenome” engineering approach to modifying protein glycosylation by deconstructing
protein N-glycosylation in CHO cells and this has led to new capabilities in customized glycosylation of recombinant therapeutics. These studies also enabled generation of large libraries of isogenic cells with distinct glycosylation capacities representing a cell-based glycan array. Numerous translational accomplishments include being co-inventor of novel biomedical therapeutics, including an acellular dermal skin mesh, glycopegylated therapeutics, enzymes and processes for whole blood unit enzymatic ABO conversion, processes to procure cold storage of platelets for transfusion, and glycoengineered CHO cells for production of improved glycoprotein therapeutics.

Dr. Clausen’s achievements have led to numerous honors including the Benzow Prize (Denmark), Thureus Prize (Sweden), Mizutani Prize (Japan), Carlsberg Biotechnology Prize (Denmark), Novo Nordisk Prize (Denmark), Kirsten & Freddy Johansen’s Prize (Denmark), and Merit Gold Medal (Porto, Portugal).