Welcome to my website!
First of all, I’m very excited to be chosen as one of the few recipients of the ERC Starting Grant. I am very grateful for this opportunity and I simply can’t sit and wait to see what new discoveries await!
My project ‘GlycoX‘ will perform single molecule imaging on ‘glycoconjugates’. These are biomolecules that are decorated with one or more carbohydrate molecules (also called ‘glycans’). For example, glycoproteins (proteins decorated with glycans), glycolipids (lipids decorated with glycans), and glycoRNAs (RNAs decorated with glycans). See below for an example of a glycoprotein.
The cool thing about glycoconjugates is that the surface of all cells and viruses are covered with glycoproteins and glycolipids! These glycans are what the glycoscientists call ‘the sugar code‘, because these molecules broadcast the identity and the state of the cell to its surrounding (just like an ID card). Hidden within these glycoconjugate molecules is therefore the very language cells use to communicate with one another (and pathogens use to infect us). Reading them would allow us to understand so much about how cells communicate, enabling more researcher to design new diagnostics and therapeutics for many health challenges today!
We are going to read the sugar codes.
By imaging the glycoconjugate molecules one by one.
Hopefully in a couple of weeks time, I will add a section on Science so that visitors could get a bird-eye view of what this group tries to accomplish and most importantly why we are doing it. Since my research is publicly funded, I believe it is imperative that I communicate effectively what I do to the public.
For now the next item in my to-do list is the assembling of my team which I hope to finish by Q1/Q2 2023. I plan to hire a couple of graduate students and postdocs to embark on adventures to (i) visualize single biomolecules in ultrahigh vacuum by low temperature scanning tunnelling microscopy and (ii) model the observed molecules by density functional theory calculations. Yes, the research in my group includes both experiment and theory which I believe will provide a great opportunity for students to receive multifaceted scientific training, and, for postdocs, to expand your horizon and competitiveness! If you are an excellent candidate (or happen to know one), please do get in touch!