My group uses X-ray crystallography to determine the molecular structures of proteins at atomic resolution. The main focus of my research is on proteins of medical interest and in particular on protein-carbohydrate interactions.
While DNA and RNA are the universal intra-cellular information carriers, protein-carbohydrate interactions are the language of choice for inter-cellular communication. Recognition of complex carbohydrates lies at the heart of many important biological processes such as protein targeting to cellular compartments, immune response, and host-pathogen interactions. However, our understanding of this glycocode is just beginning to unfold.
My work involves the close collaboration with research groups of different specializations (e.g. biochemists, molecular modelers, bioinformaticiens, NMR and mass spectrometrists), thus warranting that the structural characterization of the chosen research targets are pursued in a broader context. This work has the potential to lead to the development of new treatments against severe human diseases, including infectious diseases and cancer.
Review series: Nature (2007), 446, 999-1051, Scientific American (2002), 287, 24-32 and Science (2001), 291, 2337-2378.