Our research is focused on the development of molecules modulating disease-relevant carbohydrate–protein interactions in infection, inflammatory diseases, and cancer. Many biological processes in this context are mediated by a group of carbohydrate-binding proteins called C-type lectin receptors (CLRs). These proteins are expressed on innate immune cells, such as macrophages and dendritic cells, which represent mediators between innate and adaptive immunity.
By designing small molecule glycomimetic ligands that selectively bind certain members of the CLR family, we aim to harness the functions of CLRs for therapeutic applications. These compounds can serve as e.g., inhibitors of viral entry, immunomodulatory agents (vaccine adjuvants), or for targeted delivery purposes. By grafting these ligands to multivalent supports, we synthesize functional nanomaterials for therapeutic applications.
By understanding the specific details that drive carbohydrate–protein interactions on a molecular level, we aim to improve our ability to design efficient and selective glycomimetics. For this, we study protein–ligand binding thermodynamics and kinetics of mono- and multivalent compounds by various biophysical techniques.