Glyco@Alpes

Cross Disciplinary Program 2016.
Glyco@Alps explores the fascinating structural diversity and complexity of sugars, including those found in the Alpine biodiversity, and focuses on their exploitation for biopharmaceuticals, medical diagnostics, personalized medicine, materials, environmental sustainability and innovative bio-industries.

Carbohydrates (sugars) are ubiquitous in Nature; they form a tremendous variety of biomolecules, i.e. glycoconjugates, polysaccharides, that are essential to life. Glycoscientists will explore the structural diversity of complex carbohydrates from Alpine organisms, will develop bioactive glycans as biomarkers and therapeutics, and will use polysaccharides to obtain new materials. The innovation potential of glycosciences will be evaluated in terms of economy and environmental efficiency.

The challenges

Carbohydrates are the Cinderella of biomolecules: they have not been as extensively studied as proteins or nucleic acids. Our knowledge of their chemical structure diversity is far to be complete. The diversity and complexity of carbohydrates result in unique structural and biological properties that have yet to be explored. Applications include the development of novel glycomaterials (nanocomposite, films, hydrogels) and compounds for diagnosis and therapeutics.

Interdisciplinarity

We will start from the Alpine biodiversity in order to explore the biological, biomedical and biophysical properties of glycomolecules and glycomaterials, therefore spanning from ecology to biology, chemistry and physics. We will extend this interdisciplinary approach to the environmental and the bioeconomy domains, areas with which the glycoscience community is currently unfamiliar.

International visibility

Glyco@Alps is aimed at reinforcing inter-disciplinary collaborations within the glycoscientist community of Grenoble and opening new interactions with teams involved in the exploration of biological diversity of Alpine resources and the analysis of glycoscience-based sectors in innovation and production processes. This structuration will result in new opportunities for academic research but also will develop a network gathering academia and companies for new collaborative projects.

The Alpine biodiversity has never been explored  through its carbohydrate molecular diversity, which threrefore represents an unique and competitive resource for the Glyco@Alps project. Glycosciences adress topics such as human health, biotechnology, green chemistry, biosourced materials and bioeconomy that are priorities at the national and international level. Glyco@Alps will also contribute to the structuration of a network of glyco-centers of excellence in Europe.

With the involvement of around 100 scientists of different domains, Glyco@Alps will highlight the University Grenoble Alpes as the first glycoscience center in France. Organization of  international summer schools and scientific meetings will insure visibility at the international level. Glyco@Alps also aims at attracting and training the next generation of glycoscientists, with a pluridisciplinary approach and a broad view to environmental and innovation issues.

Updated on February 18, 2020