Sharon Vercellotti's graduate study was in the area of synthetic transition metal chelation complexes. During the past 25 years she has performed a variety of biochemical research projects which have resulted in papers on blood proteins, nucleic acid base pair thermodynamics, protease mechanism, dehydrogenase purification, pyridine nucleotide analog synthesis and active site specific reagents for dehydrogenases purification, pyridine nucleotide analog synthesis and active site specific reagents for dehydrogenases based on novel nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide diazonium salts.
She founded V-LABS, INC., as a laboratory specializing in carbohydrates in 1979 with the vision of making available both products and services to researchers in biotechnology, biochemistry, and in the rapidly developing glycobiology with its potentially revolutionary approaches in solving biomedical problems. For this reason she has made international agreements to distribute biologically active cell surface recognition molecules that are much in demand in frontier research, and has made available carbohydrate enzymes for use in structural studies and analysis of key biomolecules. During her sixteen years as president of V-LABS she has worked on both the synthesis and analysis of carbohydrates and the isolation and modification of polysaccharides.
She has had extensive experience in the application of membrane separation to biopolymers. She has developed membrane purification methods for the isolation of polysaccharides such as laminaran from the seaweed Laminaria digitata and hemicellulose A and B from corn cobs. She has also used membranes for the fractionation of maltodextrins and inulin into different molecular weight ranges, sold for use as standards in membrane filtration systems. She has done extensive work in the membrane fractionation of mucopolysaccharides. The various molecular weight fractions of glycosaminoglycans (sulfated polysaccharides) have displayed very interesting biological properties. Individual malto- and cellooligosaccharides up to the nonaose oligomer were isolated by preparative liquid chromatography and made commercially available as hydrolytic standards. As a consultant to many food, surgical supply, and pharmaceutical industries, she has solved intricate products, packaging, or shelf life problems in a wide range of products. She has developed reliable procedures for scaling up immunomoldulating polysaccharides and supplies them to user companies. She has prepared and purified chitin and chitosan from shrimp and crayfish and has prepared several N-carboxymethyl and sulfated N-carboxymethyl derivatives; the latter compound has been shown to be active against HIV-1, the virus that causes AIDS, in human tissue culture. She has worked with the Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard University on this project. She has also prepared a number of sulfated polysaccharides such as xylan sulfates and amylose sulfates as commercial products., useful in therapeutic applications.
Since her founding of V-LABS in 1979, Ms. Vercellotti has served continuously as a mentor to a number of high schools and college students at her laboratory. She has participated in the internship program for the Gifted and Talented Program with the St. Tammany Parish Schools from 1992 to the present. Many of the students have pursued studies and careers in the sciences. V-LABS' first Ph.D. student in chemistry graduated in 1990. The fourth Ph.D graduated in 2006. She has helped the students with college applications and scholarship recommendations. She has also given numerous demonstrations to local students, both in her laboratory and at their schools. She has participated in judging many local, regional, and state science fairs and has advised local science teachers and students with diverse projects. Ms. Vercellotti and her husband John have two children, Ellen and Paul. Her hobbies are reading and cooking.
Serving the needs of the carbohydrate community