Exploring carbohydrates in disease
Lead Researcher: Dr Martin Fascione, Department of Chemistry
Carbohydrates are integral in a number of important biological processes including tumour metastasis, bacterial recognition, and the immunological response.
The Fascione group studies carbohydrates at the interface between chemistry and biology (chemical glycobiology). Their focus is on deciphering the roles that carbohydrates play in the aetiology of disease, by developing chemical biology tools. These tools can be applied in innovative new ‘chemical glycomedicine’ approaches for the prevention and treatment of disease, translating novel chemistry into living systems, from where the complex roles of carbohydrates can be probed further at a dynamic cellular level. They have a particular interest in bacterial glycans such as pseudaminic acid (Pse5Ac7Ac), which is present on the surface of a number of pathogenic bacteria.
The group uses an interdisciplinary approach, utilising their developing expertise in glycobiology and protein bioconjugation alongside a toolkit of techniques consisting of synthetic and enzymatic carbohydrate chemistry, organocatalysis, unnatural amino acid mutagenesis and molecular biology. They have explored glycosylation and other post-translational modifications in pathologies such as cancer, tuberculosis, cholera, Ebola viral infections, E. coli infections and Leishmaniasis.
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