Tarun K. Dam

Tarun K. Dam


  • Associate Professor, Chemistry
  • Director, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) Program
  • PhD, University of Calcutta, India
  • Postdoctoral, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York
  • Faculty, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York


Antigen presenting cells (APCs) that protect our body from internal and external threats, express an array of glycan-binding proteins or lectins. These lectins recognize cancer antigens as well as the surface structures of pathogens and help immune cells interact with tumor cells and invading pathogens. Depending on certain factors, these interactions either help eliminate the detrimental pathogens and tumors (immunity) or lead to a tolerant environment where tumors and pathogens thrive (immune tolerance). The lab's main goal is to determine the mechanistic basis of the factors that regulate the balance between immunity and immune tolerance. Many pathogens also express glycan-binding proteins and use them for host invasion. We study the structure-function relationship of such pathogenic proteins. The findings of our research would potentially elucidate novel immunobiological pathways and help develop new drugs and vaccine strategies. The lab also works in the area of plant lectins. We use plant lectins as model and surrogate proteins to study the mechanistic basis of protein-glycan interaction, investigate the nutritional aspects of lectins from edible plants and are interested in developing novel detection and separation devices using plant lectins. Such devices would be useful for glycomics, glycoproteomics and various bio-analytical and bio- detection techniques.

Research Interests

  • Molecular basis of glycan (carbohydrate)-mediated biological functions
  • Glycan binding proteins or lectins
  • Glycan detection
  • Mechanistic glycobiology
  • Macromolecular communication
  • Biomolecular thermodynamics