2009 Rosalind Kornfeld Award goes to Roland Schauer

The Society for Glycobiology is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2009 Rosalind Kornfeld Award is jointly awarded to Mary Catherine (Susy) Glick and Roland Schauer. The Rosalind Kornfeld Award for Lifetime Achievement in Glycobiology was established in 2008 to honor the distinguished scientific career and service to the Society by Dr Rosalind Kornfeld. The award is given by the Society to scientists who have, over their professional lifetimes, made significant contributions with important impact on the field.

Roland Schauer (Professor Emeritus, University of Kiel) has contributed during the last 40 years more than anybody else to our knowledge about the occurrence, structure, biosynthesis and functions of the sialic acids, and has thus made a lasting impact on glycobiology. He discovered many new members of this important sugar family, and has isolated, characterized and cloned several of the key enzymes involved in the biosynthesis and degradation of a number of these compounds, among them N-glycolylneuraminic acid and O-acetylated sialic acids. In addition, he shed light on the functions of the sialic acids, such as the protection of cells from phagocytosis, by masking galactose recognition  sites, or serving as receptors for certain viruses, in particular showing that 9-O-acetylneuraminic acid is the receptor of influenza virus C. His work has had a marked impact on the understanding of many phenomena in which sialic acids are of critical importance such as the control of life time of cells and glycoproteins in the circulatory system, the adhesion of infectious agents to host cells, the recruitment of leukocytes to sites of inflammation, lymphocyte interactions in the immune system, and the development of metastases.

Dr. Schauer has published extensively on these substances in the primary literature, has written several widely cited reviews on the subject and in 1982 has edited a classic book devoted to sialic acids. He has also organized a number of conferences on sialic acids, and has also been a very strong supporter of others in the field, being generous to the extreme, and doing everything he could to facilitate progress. Last but not least, he has trained a large number of scientists who are spreading the gospel of glycobiology worldwide. No wonder he is known far and wide as 'Mr. Sialic Acid'.

For his lasting contributions to the knowledge about the diversity of the sialic acids and their metabolism and functions, the Society for Glycobiology has awarded Dr. Schauer the 2009 Rosalind Kornfeld Award for Lifetime Achievement in Glycobiology.