Protein Glycoscience and Biotechnology

Enzyme structure
Protein structures

Molecular insight into protein-carbohydrate interactions underpinning glycan turn-over and other processes involving glycan-protein interplay, e.g. microbe-host interactions and adhesion, is a prerequisite to harness these interactions to our benefit.  

Our research focuses on: 

  • Metabolism of non-digestible glycans by distinct members of the human gut microbiota of relevance to human health
  • Fungal carbohydrate active enzymes for complex polysaccharide biomass conversions in biotechnology.

We aim at deciphering the molecular details of complex glycan utilization by bacteria associated to a healthy human gut microbiota for development of diet-supplement based interventions to promote health and combat disorders correlated to microbiota imbalance e.g. obesity, type 2 diabetes and colon cancer. We are particularly interested in oligosaccharide transporters likely to be a key determinant of the metabolic specialisation of different taxa in the competitive human gut niche. 

Fungi produce formidable enzyme arsenals to deconstruct plant cell-wall glycans, but the activities of only a limited fraction are unveiled.

We strive to discover, characterize and engineer novel enzymes for biotechnological conversion of biomass, rich in complex polysaccharides, into added value chemicals and materials.  Our core expertise in recombinant-protein production, enzymology, and analyses of biomolecular interactions are key tools in our strategy that also benefits from bioinformatics, microbiology, structural biology and “omics” analyses.