The interests of the Withers Lab focus primarily on enzymes that catalyse glycoside formation and hydrolysis, since these enzymes play crucial roles in all areas of biology. Applications of our research include the development of new catalysts for industrial processes, the design, synthesis and testing of new therapeutics based upon enzyme inhibition and the discovery and optimisation of new enzymes through metagenomics and directed evolution approach. One particular current focus is enzymes that modify glycans on the surface of proteins and cells. This has led us into the development of methodologies for the generation of Universal donor O-type blood by conversion of the A and B antigens on red blood cells to the H-antigen of O type blood.
For an up-to-date list of publications by Dr. Withers, please see chem.ubc.ca/stephen-withers.