synBIOcarb Work Packages and PhD Projects

Each Early Stage Researcher (ESR) project will contribute to one, or more, of four thematic Work Packages, that have been designed to progress the state-of-the-art in Synthetic Glycobiology towards applications in diagnostics and targeted delivery.

Work Package 1. Understanding and engineering protein-carbohydrate interactions

The objective of WP1 is to further our fundamental understanding of structure-activity relationships for protein-carbohydrate interactions. In particular, how changes in the architecture of lectins affects their binding selectivity and ability to interact with, bend and fuse membranes together.

Work Package 2. Functionalising complex surfaces with novel glycocalyx and lectin components

The objective of WP2 is to expand our toolbox of Synthetic Glycobiology building blocks that can be used to functionalise complex surfaces including supported bilayers, GUVs, living cells. This work will include chemical and enzymatic synthesis of new glycosylated lipidated peptides and use of bioorthogonal coupling to attach lectins to surfaces in defined orientations.

Work Package 3. Development of synthetic glycobiology tools for analytical and diagnostic methods

In WP3 we will involve developing methods to detect tumour associated cancer antigens and specific glycans important in the quality control of pharmaceutical glycoproteins.

Work Package 4. Development of synthetic glycobiology tools for cell targeting and drug delivery

In WP4 we will investigate how lectins attached to polymers, other lectins, or antibody fragments/mimetics, through bioorthogonal coupling or genetic fusion, can be used to target cancer cells for drug delivery or immunotherapies.