Wolf Prize Laureate in Chemistry 2014
Affiliation at the time of the award:
From Academia Sinica, Taiwan
“for numerous original contributions to the programmable and practical synthesis of complex carbohydrates and glycoproteins”.
Dr. Wong has pioneered the development of programmable chemical and enzymatic synthesis methods that enable the previously impossible or infeasible synthesis and study of classes of compounds, especially complex carbohydrates, glycoproteins and related substances, which are vitally important in biology and medicine. His enzymatic strategy coupled with cofactor regeneration elegantly fuses chemistry and biology into a novel, environmentally friendly approach to large-scale and rapid synthesis of complex carbohydrates and glycoproteins. This enzymatic method remains the most practical and efficient method available to date for large-scale synthesis of oligosaccharides. The programmable one-pot synthesis of oligosaccharides originated by his group is the first automated approach to this class of complex molecules. The original methods developed by his group have been used to solve major problems and create new opportunities in carbohydrate chemistry and biology associated with cancer progression, bacterial and viral infection and immunological function, and the work has led to the development of vaccines, therapeutics and glycan microarrays for analysis of protein-carbohydrate interaction. In addition, his fundamental study of glycoprotein folding affected by glycosylation and glycan conformation has laid the framework for much of the current interests in post-translational glycosylation, glycoprotein structural biology and drug discovery.