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Dr Martin Fascione

Senior Lecturer in Chemistry

Tel: 01904 328822

Carbohydrate chemistry; Chemical glycobiology and glycomedicine

  • Synthetic carbohydrate chemistry
  • Chemical glycobiology 
  • Chemical enzymology of carbohydrate active enzymes
  • Protein bioconjugation for the development of (glyco)theranostics

Sugars (or carbohydrates as they are also known) are integral in a number of important biological processes including tumour metastasis, bacterial recognition, and the immunological response.

The Fascione group studies complex sugars (glycans) at the interface between chemistry and biology- a field commonly termed ‘chemical glycobiology’. Our focus is on deciphering the roles that these biomolecules play in the etiology of disease, with the overall aim of developing chemical tools to study and perturb their activity in vivo. We use synthetic and enzymatic carbohydrate chemistry to develop chemical glycobiology tools, to particularly study sialic acid like sugars that play important roles in bacterial pathogens. We also develop novel (glyco)conjugation approaches for proteins which can be applied in chemical glycomedicine approaches for the prevention and treatment of disease.

To achieve these goals, we utilise a toolkit of techniques consisting of synthetic carbohydrate and protein chemistry, organocatalysis, enzymology and molecular biology. 

Selected publications

Keenan, T., Hatton, N., Porter, J., Vendeville, J-B., Wheatley, D., Ghirardello, M., Ahmadipour , S., Walton, J., Galan, M. C., Linclau, B., & Miller, G. J., & Fascione, M. A. Reverse thiophosphorylase activity of a glycoside phosphorylase in the synthesis of an unnatural Manβ1,4GlcNAc library. Chem. Sci., 2023,14, 11638-11646

Flack, E., Chidwick, H., Guchhait, G., Keenan, T., Budhadev, D., Huang, K., Both, P., Mas Pons, J., Ledru, H., Rui, S., Stafford, G., Shaw, J., Galan, M. C., Flitsch, S. L., Thomas, G. H., & Fascione, M. A. Biocatalytic Transfer of Pseudaminic Acid (Pse5Ac7Ac) Using Promiscuous Sialyltransferases in a Chemoenzymatic Approach to Pse5Ac7Ac Containing Glycosides. ACS Catal., 2020, 10 (17), 9986-9993

Keenan, T., Parmeggiani, F., Malassis, J., Fontenelle, C., Vendeville, J-B., Offen, W. A., Both, P., Huang, K., Marchesi, A., Heyam, A. P., Young, C., Charnock, S. J., Davies, G. J., Linclau, B., Flitsch, S. L., & Fascione, M. A. Profiling substrate promiscuity of wild-type sugar kinases for multifluorinated monosaccharides. Cell Chem. Biol., 2020, 27 (9), 1199-1206


Martin Fascione received his Ph.D. from the University of Leeds in 2009, working under the supervision of W. Bruce Turnbull on the stereoselective synthesis of 1,2-cis-glycosides. Following a postdoctoral period in Leeds, Martin was awarded a Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship to study the mechanisms of carbohydrate processing enzymes with Prof. Steve Withers, FRS, at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada (2012-2013) and Prof. Gideon Davies, FRS, FMedSci, at the University of York, UK (2013-2014). In August 2014 he took up a lectureship in the York Structural Biology Laboratory, within the Department of Chemistry. His research interests include the chemical glycobiology of nonulosonic/sialic acids, synthetic and enzymatic carbohydrate chemistry, and the bioconjugation of proteins. In 2022 he was awarded a five-year ERC Consolidator Grant (selected by the ERC, funded by UKRI).