The research in the Biosyn group is focused on the design, synthesis and function of the four major types of biomolecules: nucleic acids, carbohydrates, peptides and lipids and hybrid structures thereof. These biomolecules and their derivatives are used in drug discovery and chemical biology, to develop synthetic methodology or as an inspiration for mimetic design.
Sugar Amino Acids (SAA’s) for example have been a major mimetic design interest over the last years in the group. New chemistry is being developed for their construction and to use them as both peptide- and carbohydrate mimics. They have been incorporated in various (cyclic) peptides, such as Gramicidin S, to control their structure and influence their biological properties.
Examples in our drug discovery program include aza-sugar based inhibitors to treat Type II diabetes and well-defined Toll-like Receptor ligands. The chemical biology platform develops new labeling-purification-visualization tools to interrogate the proteome, and the proteasome in particular.
Synthetic carbohydrate chemistry is one of the major research interests of the Biosyn group and currently focuses on synthetic methodology for the stereoselective construction of acidic oligosaccharides, zwitterionic polysaccharides and chitin based drugs.