The Withers Group size is typically around 20 members, including approximately 7-10 postdoctoral fellows, 7-10 graduate students (several jointly supervised), various undergraduate students, 2 long-term staff providing training and resources in synthesis and molecular biology, plus an administrator. Graduate students are drawn from graduate programs of the Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry as well as the Genome Sciences & Technology (GSAT) Graduate Program.
Research in the Withers Group primarily focuses upon enzymes involved in glycoside cleavage and synthesis, with special emphasis upon their mechanisms. Research also focuses upon exploitation of the understandings developed. Applications range from development of new enzyme-based synthetic methodologies to new therapeutics and imaging agents. Of particular importance to this research area has been the classification of glycosidases and other carbohydrate-processing enzymes into sequence-based families by Bernard Henrissat (Marseilles). The CAZy website and the associated Wiki site CAZypedia are constant reference points and sources of inspiration.