Joshua Sharp

Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Research Associate Professor in Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Joshua S Sharp

Joshua Sharp is a faculty member in Pharmacology (primarily teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in Biochemistry, and graduate courses in glycoscience and mass spectrometry) and Director of the Glycoscience Center of Research Excellence.

Research Interests

  • Development and application of new technologies for characterizing the three-dimensional molecular structure of challenging biomolecular systems, including protein:carbohydrate complexes
  • Development and application of new technologies for the structure-function analysis of glycosaminoglycans, a class of large anionic polysaccharides found on the surface of almost all mammalian cells


Joshua Sharp completed his postdoctoral training in the Laboratory of Structural Biology at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, NC. While there, he pioneered a new method for understanding the structural consequences of protein oxidative damage from reactive oxygen species. Prof. Sharp then took a research and graduate faculty position at the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center at the University of Georgia in 2007. At the CCRC, Prof. Sharp's group focused on the development and application of technologies for characterizing protein:glycosaminoglycan complexes. He was part of a team that determined the oligomerization structure of the chemokine CCL5, as well as determining both the ligand structure and the ligand binding site for the Robo1:heparan sulfate complex. While at the University of Georgia, Prof. Sharp also started commercialization efforts for his technology, which evolved into GenNext Technologies, Inc.

Prof. Sharp joined the Department of BioMolecular Sciences at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy in 2015, and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2019. While here, Prof. Sharp helped secure funding for the Glycoscience Center of Research Excellence, an NIH COBRE center that supports and promotes glycoscience research at the University of Mississippi and throughout the Mid-South region. Prof. Sharp also serves as a member of the Board of Directors, Chief Technology Officer and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board for GenNext Technologies, Inc. Through this company, Prof. Sharp has successfully commercialized his protein footprinting technology, with instruments and software installed at academic, government and commercial biomedical labs in North America, Europe and Asia. In 2022, Joshua Sharp was named the first Triplett-Behrakis Endowed Professor for the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy.

Curriculum Vitae


This work was the first solution of a protein of unknown structure by covalent labeling mass spectrometry coupled with computational modeling.

The Flash Oxidation (FOX) System: A Novel Laser-Free Fast Photochemical Oxidation Protein Footprinting Platform 

This publication describes the first commercial system for the safe semi-automated performance of hydroxyl radical protein footprinting, a method of protein structural characterization that I helped pioneer.

Cryo-EM Reveals the Architecture of Placental Malaria VAR2CSA and Provides Molecular Insight Into Chondroitin Sulfate Binding 

In this collaborative project with Prof. Ali Salanti, we helped characterize how the malaria protein VAR2CSA interacts with a chondroitin sulfate polysaccharide structure found on the placenta to allow for in utero infection.

Effective Inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 Entry by Heparin and Enoxaparin Derivatives

This work was one of the key studies establishing that SARS-CoV-2 requires interaction with cell surface heparan sulfate for adhesion and infection of target cells.

Integrated Approach to Identify Heparan Sulfate Ligand Requirements of Robo1 

This collaborative work defined a high-affinity structure of heparan sulfate that bound to Robo1 to form a complex key in neuronal development.


Ph.D. Bio Science, University of Tennessee-Knoxville (2003)