Boraston, Alisdair

Associate Professor


Phone number: (250) 472-4168
Department: Biochemistry and Microbiology

Research description:

- Structural biology and biophysical analysis of protein-carbohydrate interactions
- Streptococcus pneumoniae bacterium
- Clostridium perfringens bacterium
- Biochemical studies of novel enzyme systems, which will hopefully enable technologies to use new feedstocks for conversion into biofuels
- Finding alternatives to antibiotics that would prevent harmful organisms from reaching the carbohydrates they are looking to break down
Expertise Profile
Understanding how proteins recognize and break down carbohydrates may seem far removed from filling a car's gas tank or finding a successful treatment for pneumonia.

But, for those looking for new ways to produce biofuels or seeking solutions to antibiotic resistance, deciphering these interactions is crucial to success.

Biochemist Dr. Alisdair Boraston has generated numerous insights into the interactions between carbohydrates, proteins and enzymes, achievements that have earned him a 2012 E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship from NSERC.

Much of Dr. Boraston's work focuses on Streptococcus pneumoniae, a bacterium that is gaining superbug status and ranks as one of the world's leading causes of death from infectious disease.

His other main avenue of research is investigating how marine microbes break down seaweed cell walls, with an eye on potential applications to biofuel production.

Dr. Boraston's approach relies on the fundamentals of structural biology, first understanding the basic structure and function of a protein.

In the classroom, Dr. Boraston brings in examples from the lab to get students thinking about using the material taught in the classroom to solve problems in the real world.

Dr. Boraston is one of the world's top experts on the structures and functions of carbohydrate-binding proteins and a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar.

Related Links
Dr. Boraston's Faces of UVic Research video:

Health related research:

Studies of carbohydrate-specific adhesion of bacterial pathogens and recognition of carbohydrates by bacterial toxins.

Countries lived or worked in:

United Kingdom

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