Glyco@Alps explores the fascinating structural diversity and complexity of sugars, a class of molecule referred to as the “dark-matter” of biomolecules, compared to lipids, proteins or nucleic acids.

Glyco@Alps2 builds on our understanding of complex biology and structure of glycans and glycomaterials for developing interdisciplinary research in Grenoble. It brings together more than 100 scientists from 21 laboratories for exploring the alpine glycobiomaterialsi, studying the structure, regulation and bioactivity of glycans and developing new glycotechnologies and glycoinnovations in the thematic of “Health and Well-being” and “Energy, Housing and Environment”.

The challenges

Carbohydrates are the most abundant class of biomolecules on earth, and major constituents of plants to fungi, algae, crustaceans, insects and higher order animals and are involved in many pathologies. Glycosciences thus offer the opportunity to address many challenges that our society is facing, such as maintaining food security, improving healthy lifestyles, reducing carbon footprints and dependence on fossil resources, and improving diagnostics and treatments.


The project brings together two major areas of research: on the one hand, chemistry, biology and medical sciences (glycomics), and on the other hand material science and process engineering (glycomaterials). As a sustainable but not yet fully exploited source of molecules and materials, sugars also need to be integrated in a comprehensive approach including innovation and life cycle analysis. The economy of biomaterials and their inclusion in architecture and housing is a hot topic.

A transformative project

The Glyco@Alps2 project is positioned on both scientific and technological domains, since the development of new methodological tools is crucial for the glycoscience community. We will complement and diversify the scientific core of chemistry, biology, material sciences, processes and innovation with the inclusion of new laboratories and open our network to new domains in humanities in relation with society needs, such as environment, energy and housing.

National and international reach

Glyco@Alps2 activities are fully related to some of the “national strategies of acceleration” defined in the new PIA4 and supported by UGA, i.e. “Biothérapies et bioproduction de thérapies innovantes” and “Produits bio-sourcés et biotechnologies industrielles”. Glyco@Alps also ambitions to be a major actor in the creation of a Network of excellence for Glycosciences in Europe, by inteacting with other European glyco-centers and participation to European programs, (e.g. ERC, ITN).

For a better visibility of Grenoble

Glyco@Alps will bring Grenoble glycosciences to a higher level by encouraging an extended interdisciplinarity that would never have existed without the cross-disciplinary program. In the last years Glyco@Alps created a strong interdisciplinary community in Grenoble. With this further support to our community, we hope to definitely affirm UGA as a foremost center of Excellence for glycosciences for our international scientific partners, students and the general public.

Updated on  February 28, 2023