Abstract: Neisseria meningitidis is one of the leading causes of bacterial meningitis worldwide. There are six-disease causing serogroups, each characterized by the capsular polysaccharides surrounding the pathogen. Capsule polymerases are responsible for synthesizing these sugars. Our current focus is the N. meningitidis serogroup W (NmW) capsule polymerase which synthesizes a polysaccharide containing repeating units of sialic acid and galactose. An increased understanding of the serogroup W capsule polymerase can lead to its use as a tool to improve the enzymatic synthesis of carbohydrate structures. Our group uses interdisciplinary approaches to investigate activity of the NmW capsule polymerase. The overall goal is to modulate biosynthetic activity of this enzyme to create size-controlled carbohydrates for applications in glycoconjugate vaccines and bioremediation of heavy metal cations. This presentation will describe our progress using chemoenzymatic strategies and bioinformatics tools to investigate catalysis and substrate specificity of the NmW capsule polymerase enzyme.