2010 Rosalind Kornfeld Award goes to Harry Schachter

The Society for Glycobiology is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2010 Rosalind Kornfeld Award is jointly awarded to Harry Schachter and Jeremiah Silbert. 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.

Dr Harry Schachter (Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry, University of Toronto; Senior Scientist Emeritus, Research Institute, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto) has made many seminal contributions to glycobiology and the biochemistry of glycan synthesis for more than four decades. Early on Dr. Schachter was a leader in establishing many robust enzyme assays to characterize Golgi glycosyltransfersase activities in both the N- and O-glycosylation pathways. He defined complex enzyme acceptor specificities and revealed the order in the N-glycan branching pathway leading to complex N-glycans on cell surface receptors and secreted proteins. His group purified GlcNAc-transferases I and II from biological sources, cloned and expressed the respective genes, and then he turned his attention to their functions in development and disease. He collaborated with Dr. Jamey Marth to generate mice with germ line deletions.  Dr. Schachter's group then generated similar mutants in C. elegans, which has three GlcNAc-transferase I genes. They made the triple mutant and learned much about N-glycan synthesis in the worm by characterizing the affected glycans and glycoproteins by mass spectrometry with Dr. Vern Reinhold.

Dr. Schachter's enthusiasm, integrity and forthright style are widely recognized and appreciated, and have made him an outstanding collaborator, an excellent communicator of science, and a model for young scientists. He collaborated with Dr Pamela Stanley on one of the first glycosylation mutants of cultured cells to reveal that Lec1 CHO cells lack GlcNAcT-I activity. He worked with Dr. Jaak Jaeken to characterize the first Carbohydrate-Deficient Glycoprotein Syndrome (CDG-IIa; now known as Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation) and developed a mouse model of CGD-IIa with Dr. Jamey Marth. Most recently, Dr. Schachter has explored the biological functions of N-glycans in Drosophila development with Dr Gabrielle Boulianne. This study indicates that GlcNAcT-I expression in the brain of Drosophila has a tissue-specific role in the regulation of insulin signaling and life span.  Many others, both collaborators and competitors, have benefited from Dr. Schachter's wide knowledge, encouragement and advice. He has authored more than 160 original papers and 80 scholarly reviews, and edited several books.

Dr. Schachter has also served the scientific community in a number of ways. He was an Associate Editor for the Journal of Biological Chemistry and Chief Editor of Glycoconjugate Journal, Convenor and Chair of the 11th International Symposium on Glycoconjugates and the 2nd International Symposium on Glycosyltransferases.  He has been a strong supporter of glycobiology through his teaching, mentoring of students and research lectures at international meetings.  In recognition of his seminal and numerous scientific contributions to glycobiology in development and disease, and his leadership in promoting the field of glycobiology, the Society for Glycobiology has awarded Dr. Schachter the 2010 Rosalind Kornfeld Award for Lifetime Achievement in Glycobiology.