Mia Huang, associate professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research.

The American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Division of Carbohydrate Chemistry has awarded Mia Huang, PhD, the 2023 David Y. Gin Young Investigator Award. This annual award is given for outstanding contributions to research in carbohydrate chemistry by scientists in the first seven years of their independent career. The award will be presented to Huang by ACS at the Spring 2023 National Meeting.

Beyond being a major constituent of the foods we eat, carbohydrates play a critical role in the control systems of the body, where they help direct the function of cells and tissues. Chains of several carbohydrates, called “glycans,” are responsible or processes like activating our immune system, controlling cell growth and transporting cellular cargo.

Huang, who is an associate professor in the Department of Molecule Medicine, investigates these glycans as receptors for growth signals, particularly in the development of tumors or in the generation of stem cells. Integrating techniques in synthetic chemistry and protein engineering, Huang’s lab seeks to understand how glycan molecules can help create better defined populations of stem cells for use in regenerative medicine, as well as the role they play in cancer metastasis.

Preceding this award, Huang was the recipient of the National Institute of Health (NIH) K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award, the NIH Maximizing Investigator’s Research Award and the Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation Award.