Carlos Hirschberg, PhD
Emeritus Professor
Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine
Molecular & Cell Biology

PhD, University of Illinois
MS, Rutgers University–Camden
LIC, University of Chile

Dr Carlos Hirschberg is Emeritus Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine. He has made many seminal contributions to the glycobiology and biochemistry of glycan synthesis as well as sugar precursor transport for more than four decades. Carlos Hirschberg received the professional degree of "Biochemist" from the University of Chile in 1965, followed by a combined Master's degree in Nutrition and Biochemistry from Rutgers University in 1966. That year he enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for doctoral training. He was awarded his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1970, working with Professors H.E. Carter and G.J. Schroepfer on sphingolipids. This was followed by postdoctoral training at Harvard University Medical School from 1970 to 1972 with E.P. Kennedy, and then at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1972 to 1974 with P.W. Robbins. In hindsight Carlos Hirschberg´s training in these laboratories, dealing with problems in lipid synthesis, nucleotide enzymology, and glycobiology, set the stage for the work to come as an independent scientist, beginning as an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at St. Louis University School of Medicine in 1974. Hirschberg's productivity rapidly led to academic advancements, as well as appointments in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center from 1987 to 1998, and then the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine, where he organized the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and currently holds the title of Professor and was Founding Chair from 1998 until 2011.

Carlos Hirschberg has made groundbreaking scientific discoveries with enormous contributions to the fields of glycobiology and cell biology. The findings of Hirschberg and his colleagues have been fundamental toward the understanding of how the carbohydrate groups of glycoproteins, glycosaminoglycans and glycolipids are assembled and modified by sulfation and phosphorylation. Carlos Hirschberg's group is generally responsible for determining the mechanisms by which nucleotide sugars cross biological membranes, specifically in the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus. His group discovered novel transporters in the membranes of the Golgi apparatus and endoplasmic reticulum that translocate nucleotide sugars, nucleotide sulfate, and ATP in the organelle lumen where they serve as donors for modifications of membrane and secreted proteins as well as lipids. Using a combination of biochemistry and genetics, his group then purified, cloned, and elucidated the mechanisms of action of several of these multi-transmembrane spanning proteins.

Carlos Hirschberg has also always been influential in other ways over the years - mentoring students, postdocs, junior colleagues and even more senior colleagues, and by being a 'behind the scenes' proactive voice in supporting glycobiology and glycobiologists, at conferences, in discussions, and at study section meetings. He served as Chair of the 1989 Gordon Conference on Glycoproteins and Glycolipids and Chair of the Glycobiology Symposium at the ASBMB centennial meeting in 2006. In both instances he infused the programs with new faces in the field. Carlos Hirschberg also served as a member of two NIH Study Sections and as a member of the Editorial Board of several journals including the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Glycobiology, and Biological Research, a publication of the Society of Biology of Chile. He was Executive Editor of Analytical Biochemistry from 1991-2002. As Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine, he built a major center of glycobiology research and training.

Biosynthesis of Phosphorylcholine Oligosaccharides
09/01/2006 - 08/31/2009 (PI)
NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences
5 R21 GM78035 02

Characterization of the C. Elegans N- and O-glycomes
05/01/2002 - 04/30/2005 (Dept Sponsor)
NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences
1 F32 GM66486 01

Membrane Topology and Biosynthesis of Glycosaminoglycans
07/01/1987 - 11/30/2003 (PI)
NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences
5 R01 GM34396 20

The Golgi GDP-fucose Transport and Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency II Syndrome
04/01/2000 - 03/31/2001 (PI)
Mizutani Foundation for Glycosciences

Topological Orientation of the Kluyveromyces Lactis UDP-N-Acetylglucosamine Transporter in Golgi Vesicles
05/01/1999 - 04/30/2000 (Dept Sponsor)
American Association for Dental Research (AADR)


Yr Title Project-Sub Proj Pubs

Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.

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  1. Hirschberg CB. My journey in the discovery of nucleotide sugar transporters of the Golgi apparatus. J Biol Chem. 2018 08 17; 293(33):12653-12662. PMID: 30120148; PMCID: PMC6102126; DOI: 10.1074/jbc.X118.004819;
  2. Caffaro CE, Koshy AA, Liu L, Zeiner GM, Hirschberg CB, Boothroyd JC. A nucleotide sugar transporter involved in glycosylation of the Toxoplasma tissue cyst wall is required for efficient persistence of bradyzoites. PLoS Pathog. 2013; 9(5):e1003331. PMID: 23658519; PMCID: PMC3642066; DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003331;
  3. Liu L, Xu YX, Caradonna KL, Kruzel EK, Burleigh BA, Bangs JD, Hirschberg CB. Inhibition of nucleotide sugar transport in Trypanosoma brucei alters surface glycosylation. J Biol Chem. 2013 Apr 12; 288(15):10599-615.View Related Profiles. PMID: 23443657; PMCID: PMC3624441; DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M113.453597;
  4. Liu L, Hirschberg CB. Developmental diseases caused by impaired nucleotide sugar transporters. Glycoconj J. 2013 Jan; 30(1):5-10.View Related Profiles. PMID: 22527830; DOI: 10.1007/s10719-012-9375-4;
  5. Wickner WT, Stubbe J, Hirschberg CB, Garrett T, Dowhan W. Chris Raetz, scientist and enduring friend. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Oct 18; 108(42):17255-6. PMID: 21969572; PMCID: PMC3198341; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1114405108;
  6. Xu YX, Liu L, Caffaro CE, Hirschberg CB. Inhibition of Golgi apparatus glycosylation causes endoplasmic reticulum stress and decreased protein synthesis. J Biol Chem. 2010 Aug 6; 285(32):24600-8.View Related Profiles. PMID: 20529871; PMCID: PMC2915696; DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M110.134544;
  7. Liu L, Xu YX, Hirschberg CB. The role of nucleotide sugar transporters in development of eukaryotes. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2010 Aug; 21(6):600-8.View Related Profiles. PMID: 20144721; PMCID: PMC2917499; DOI: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2010.02.002;
  8. Caffaro CE, Luhn K, Bakker H, Vestweber D, Samuelson J, Berninsone P, Hirschberg CB. A single Caenorhabditis elegans Golgi apparatus-type transporter of UDP-glucose, UDP-galactose, UDP-N-acetylglucosamine, and UDP-N-acetylgalactosamine. Biochemistry. 2008 Apr 8; 47(14):4337-44.View Related Profiles. PMID: 18341292; DOI: 10.1021/bi702468g;
  9. Uccelletti D, Pascoli A, Farina F, Alberti A, Mancini P, Hirschberg CB, Palleschi C. APY-1, a novel Caenorhabditis elegans apyrase involved in unfolded protein response signalling and stress responses. Mol Biol Cell. 2008 Apr; 19(4):1337-45. PMID: 18216284; PMCID: PMC2291423; DOI: 10.1091/mbc.E07-06-0547;
  10. Caffaro CE, Hirschberg CB, Berninsone PM. Functional redundancy between two Caenorhabditis elegans nucleotide sugar transporters with a novel transport mechanism. J Biol Chem. 2007 Sep 21; 282(38):27970-5. PMID: 17652078
Showing 10 of 109 results. Show More

This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown, or last author.

Bar chart showing 98 publications over 32 distinct years, with a maximum of 7 publications in 1984


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72 E. Concord St Evans Building
Boston MA 02118
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