Omnipresence and importance of glycation
Glycation is an omnipresent non-enzymatic modification of proteins, DNA and basic phospholipids. It impacts on physiological function in health, aging and disease; and also impacts on food, influencing taste, texture, processing, stability, digestibility, nutritional value and intestinal microbiome. Glycation can be compared with spontaneous oxidative modifications increased in oxidative stress. Indeed, since some glycation processes are oxidative and some glycating agents such as MG are metabolized by the antioxidant glutathione, oxidative stress and glycation are linked inextricably. Glycation targets amino acid residues of proteins predicted to have the highest probability of location in functional domains – arginine and lysine, and so it is has great potential for functional impairment. Glycation of DNA in vivo provides the highest level of damaging adducts formed spontaneously and is linked to mutagenesis and cancer. The wealth of glycation adducts present in food are still to be fully characterized, with benefits and adverse effects of glycation in food of continuing interest. Outcomes from glycation research have relevance for the biotechnology, dietary supplement, pharmaceutical, clinical diagnostics and food industries. Scholarly interest of glycation is assured and commercial interest waiting on further development and future enterprise.
Advancing glycation research – we all have a part to play
Historians of science describe events of great scientific discoveries. Indeed, people often hear of advancement in science as breakthrough discoveries. Whilst such discoveries are important, investigations of all researchers play an important role and make a valuable contribution through testing and validating hypotheses from different perspectives in multiple laboratories and working to push forward the boundaries of current knowledge. We all have an important role in glycation research - and also in the development of IMARS.
As President of IMARS, if you work on glycation or you are considering working on glycation, you will have my attention. If you consider I can be of help in any way in pursuit of your interests and studies in glycation, then please contact me. If I am unable to help, I will likely be able to suggest someone else who can. If you have views on how IMARS is run and may be developed in better ways, then please contact me and share your views. I encourage all glycation researchers to keep pushing the boundaries of understanding in glycation research to make further advances, and younger researchers to continue glycation research towards the next generation of discoveries.
IMARS – home of the glycation research community
IMARS is important to our field of research specialization. IMARS was established in 2005 and serves an increasing number of glycation researchers. History shows that when the scientific community focusses on a scientific point, it can make meaningful advances – achieving improved understanding with spin-off applications contributing to improved global health and wealth. IMARS is the professional society for the glycation research community. I would like us all to help to maintain, sustain and develop the glycation research community over the coming years through supporting IMARS activities. If you are new to IMARS, please play a full role by participating in presentations, question-and-answer sessions and other activities. If you are returning to IMARS, welcome back and thank you for giving us your support and engagement once again. We can all expect to derive benefits from IMARS activities – through improved understanding, sharing of ideas and insights, and establishing new collaborations in glycation research.
IMARS - the way ahead
I am deeply honored and humbled to become President of IMARS for the 2018 - 2021 term. I will seek to enhance IMARS communications through the Society website and Highlights newsletter and develop use of social media to strengthen communications within the IMARS community. I will encourage regional development of IMARS activities and seek ambassadors therefrom to contribute news items to Highlights newsletter. I will help secure funding from commercial stakeholders (e.g. scientific instrument and software suppliers) and other collaborating learned societies for our events. I will consult widely on how further steps may be taken to enhance resource availability and improve visibility of the glycation research community.
The way ahead for IMARS depends on all of us as it depends on the development and advances in glycation research. I look forward to seeing the boundaries of current knowledge and understanding in glycation research pushed forward in all laboratories. I wish you all the best for your glycation research.
Professor Paul J Thornalley, President-elect of IMARS, 21st August 2018