Center for Cancer and Developmental Biology

  • Dr. Oppenheimer and student


Some Contributions to Science

We have discovered that specific glycans mediate cellular interactions in development and cancer.  Most recently we have discovered that L-rhamnose and polyglucans control cellular interaction in the sea urchin gastrula, a NIH model system.

Summary:  @300 published papers, published abstracts/national presentations including @700 student co-authors. 14 textbook editions.

ABOUT THE SINGH ET AL. (2013)., SMITH AND OPPENHEIMER (2013), AND LIANG ET AL(2015)  PAPERS BELOW. Singh et al. (2013) for the first time used an elegant new assay developed in the Oppenheimer lab that directly discovered a role of polyglucans in a cellular adhesive interaction of interest to biologists for over a century, adhesion of the archenteron tip to the blastocoel roof in the NIH model sea urchin embryo system.  What is found in sea urchins is often found in humans.

Liang et al. (2015) and Smith and Oppenheimer (2013) found for the first time in animal systems using both enzyme and sugars that L-rhamnose is involved in sea urchin embryo cellular interactions.  This sugar has not previously been definitively shown to be involved in cellular interactions in ANY animal system. This is a big first.

ABOUT GHAZARIAN AND OPPENHEIMER (2014) PAPER BELOW. Ghazarian and Oppenheimer (2014) found, using new quantitative kinetic profile assays, that D-melezitose was the best inhibitor of yeast binding to lectin microbeads, a model system for identifying agents that could block cancer cell clumping, pathogen binding to cells, biofilm development and thrombocytic events.

Liang, J., Aleksanyan, H., Metzenberg, S., Oppenheimer, S.B., Involvement of L(-) Rhamnose in Sea Urchin Gastrulation, Part II: Alpha-L-Rhamnosidase, Zygote, Accepted May 15, 2015, in press.

Oppenheimer, S.B., Simple Novel Assays in Glycobiology. Journal of Glycobiology 3:112. Doi: 10.4172/168-958X.1000112 (2014)

Ghazarian, A., Oppenheimer, S.B., Microbead Analysis of Cell Binding to Immobilized Lectin. Part II: Quantitative Kinetic Profile Assay for Possible Identification of Anti-Infectivity and Anti-Cancer Reagents. Acta Histochemica (2014)

Smith, T., Oppenheimer, S.B.,  Involvement of L-rhamnose in Sea Urchin Gastrulation: A Live Embryo Assay, Zygote, doi:10.1017/S0967199413000452 (2013)

Singh, S., Karabidian, E., Kandel, A., Metzenberg, S., Carroll, Jr.,  Oppenheimer, S.B., A Role for Polyglucans in a Model Sea Urchin Embryo Cellular Interaction, Zygote doi:10.1017/S0967199413000038 (2013)

All 19 years of the award-winning center K-12 science journal can be downloaded free of charge by anyone in the world at: This contribution to science education as well as the award-winning CSUN student research programs and and publications helped garner a U.S. Presidential Award and about 26 local, statewide and National Awards and honors, including election as Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). A Fellow of the AAAS is defined as "a Member whose efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications are scientifically or socially distinguished."