I am a biochemist studying the biological interactions of sugars.  Raised and educated in New York City, I received a B.S. in Biochemistry from nearby Stony Brook University in 1977.  I then began a fruitful southerly migration, entering graduate school at Duke, where I worked with Robert Hill and obtained a Ph.D. in Biochemistry 1982.  

I continued southward to UT Southwestern in Dallas for a postdoctoral fellowship with Michael Brown and Joseph Goldstein in 1983. This experience was highly rewarding for me, and I decided to stay at UT Southwestern, where I am currently a Professor in the Department of Pharmacology.

My training at Duke and UT Southwestern led me to an interest in glycobiology. This is an emerging field that studies essential roles of sugars, in all domains of life, but roles that are not directly related to nutrition or energy metabolism.

In glycobiology, we study well-known sugars like glucose, and lesser known structural cousins such as mannose, as parts of polymers (glycans). These glycans can be free, or covalently attached to proteins and lipids, and are recognized by highly specific glycan-binding proteins called lectins.

The glycans we study are amazing! They are critically involved in protein sorting and folding, cell-cell interaction, signaling, and pathogen binding, just to name a few examples.

There are approximately 100 human genetic diseases caused by mistakes in synthesizing these glycans!  Currently, we are studying free glycans as signaling molecules, anti-viral agents, and inducers of autoimmunity.

Students in my lab will get first-hand exposure to biochemistry, cell biology, and molecular biology, all of which are important for understanding how these glycans work, and what goes wrong in diseases of glycan deficiency.


SUNY at Stony Brook (1977)
Graduate School
Duke University (1982)

Research Interest

  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Responses - Unfolded Protein Response
  • Glycoconjugates of the Mammalian Endoplasmic Reticulum
  • N-linked Glycosylation and the Dolichol Pathway
  • Rare Metabolic Diseases Involving Sugar Abnormalities
  • Unconventional Glycogen Metabolism


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Increased sensitivity to glucose starvation correlates with downregulation of glycogen phosphorylase isoform PYGB in tumor cell lines resistant to 2-deoxy-D-glucose.
Philips KB, Kurtoglu M, Leung HJ, Liu H, Gao N, Lehrman MA, Murray TG, Lampidis TJ Cancer Chemother. Pharmacol. 2014 Feb 73 2 349-61
Letter to the Glycoforum: Improved Protocols For Preparing Lipid-Linked And Related Saccharides For Fluorophore-Assisted Carbohydrate Electrophoresis (FACE).
Gao N, Holmes J, Lehrman MA Glycobiology 2013 Oct 23 10 1111
The Xbp1s/GalE axis links ER stress to postprandial hepatic metabolism.
Deng Y, Wang ZV, Tao C, Gao N, Holland WL, Ferdous A, Repa JJ, Liang G, Ye J, Lehrman MA, Hill JA, Horton JD, Scherer PE J. Clin. Invest. 2013 Jan 123 1 455-68
A zebrafish model of congenital disorders of glycosylation with phosphomannose isomerase deficiency reveals an early opportunity for corrective mannose supplementation.
Chu J, Mir A, Gao N, Rosa S, Monson C, Sharma V, Steet R, Freeze HH, Lehrman MA, Sadler KC Dis Model Mech 2013 Jan 6 1 95-105
Nogo-B receptor is necessary for cellular dolichol biosynthesis and protein N-glycosylation.
Harrison KD, Park EJ, Gao N, Kuo A, Rush JS, Waechter CJ, Lehrman MA, Sessa WC EMBO J. 2011 30 12 2490-500

Honors & Awards

  • Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund
    Research Fellowship, 1984 - 1985 (0)
  • National Institutes of Health
    Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1983 (0)
  • Regents College Scholarship
    1973 - 1977 (0)
  • Searle Scholars Program
    1987 - 1990 (0)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • Associate Editor, Glycobiology (2004-2011)
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Biological Chemistry (1994-1998, 2012-2016)
  • President, Society For Glycobiology (2008)
  • Reviewer, Pathobiochemistry Study Section, NIH (1996-2000)