Carbohydrate (sugar!)-protein interactions control a huge range of biological recognition processes. This ranges from fertilization of eggs with sperm, cancer cell metastasis and in particular the binding to and recognition of pathogens to human cells. For example, flu binds to sialic acid (as sugar) residues on red blood cells, and many bacteria secrete toxins which bind to sugars in your gut.
In the Gibson group, we work towards developing material-based solutions to both investigate these binding processes and to translate this knowledge into novel diagnostics and treatments.
Key References from the Group
Angewandte Chemie. International Edition., 2012, 51, 7812 - 7816. "Probing Bacterial Toxin Inhibition with Synthetic Glycopolymers Prepared by Tandem Post-Polymerization Modification: Role of Linker and Carbohydrate Density"
Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2010, 132, 15130–15132,, "High Affinity Glycopolymer Binding to Human DC-SIGN and Disruption of DC-SIGN Interactions with HIV Envelope Glycoprotein"