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.


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

Research Interest

  • Glycoconjugates of the Mammalian Endoplasmic Reticulum
  • N-linked Glycosylation and the Dolichol Pathway
  • Rare Metabolic Diseases Involving Sugar Abnormalities


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
Glycoprotein biosynthesis in a eukaryote lacking the membrane protein Rft1.
Jelk J, Gao N, Serricchio M, Signorell A, Schmidt RS, Bangs JD, Acosta-Serrano A, Lehrman MA, Bütikofer P, Menon AK J. Biol. Chem. 2013 May
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
A zebrafish model of PMM2-CDG reveals altered neurogenesis and a substrate-accumulation mechanism for N-linked glycosylation deficiency.
Cline A, Gao N, Flanagan-Steet H, Sharma V, Rosa S, Sonon R, Azadi P, Sadler KC, Freeze HH, Lehrman MA, Steet R Mol. Biol. Cell 2012 Nov 23 21 4175-87
Mannose-6-Phosphate Regulates Destruction Of Lipid-Linked Oligosaccharides.
Gao N, Shang J, Huynh D, Manthati VL, Arias C, Harding HP, Kaufman RJ, Mohr I, Ron D, Falck JR, Lehrman MA Molecular biology of the cell 2011 Jul 2994-3009
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
Teaching dolichol-linked oligosaccharides more tricks with alternatives to metabolic radiolabeling.
Lehrman MA Glycobiology 2007 Aug 17 8 75R-85R
Translational Balancing By The eIF2alpha Kinase PERK Couples ER Glycoprotein Synthesis To Lipid-linked Oligosaccharide Flux
Shang, J., Gao, N. Kaufman, R. J., Ron, D., Harding, H.P., and Lehrman, M.A. Journal of Cell Biology 2007 176 605-616

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)