A multidisciplinary training network for the bioinspired
development of glycomimetics tuning the
GLYTUNES is an Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 Programme. GLYTUNES represents a novel, pioneering platform for understanding and exploiting the Siglecs-glycans cross-talk by harnessing the synergy of combining chemical to biological, biophysical, immunological research strategies and finally translating this knowledge into novel diagnostics and therapeutics. The GLYTUNES training network involves leading scientists from academia and industry and offers doctoral research projects (PhD projects) for fourteen early stage researchers (ESRs). The research topics range from fundamental to translational science and aim at i) unravelling the mechanisms governing sialo-glycans recognition by the immune surface receptors Siglecs, and ii) enabling the rational design and development of novel therapeutic and diagnostic strategies against immune and infectious diseases.
The combined multidisciplinary and glycobiotechnological approach of GLYTUNES
GLYTUNES will provide a new generation of high achieving ESRs, equipped with the technical and transferable skills necessary for thriving careers in an expanding area that underpins innovative technological development across a range of diverse disciplines. In terms of societal needs and European policy targets, GLYTUNES addresses with timeliness and relevance the main priorities of the EU research council and EU policies concerning the use of innovative methodological, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches for the treatment of human disease and the improvement of human health.
GLYTUNES will expose ESRs to a unique combination of “hands-on” research training, non-academic placements, courses, and workshops on scientific and complementary skills necessary for their future thriving careers in academia, clinical research or industry and to become the new leaders in the expanding research area of glycosciences. ESRs will receive training in chemical and structural biology, carbohydrate chemistry and biochemistry, glycoimmunology, tumor immunology, microbiology, drug design and development, project management, scientific communication, funding programmes and grant writings, entrepreneurship, ethics and intellectual property.
Siglecs (sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectins) are a broad range of cell surface immunomodulatory receptors that selectively recognize sialylated glycans with unique, yet overlapping, specificities, acting as a negative regulator of immune system triggering tolerogenic or immunogenic responses. The past decade has witnessed an explosion of discoveries linking aberrant sialic acid–Siglec interactions to a broad spectrum of pathologies including infection, autoimmunity and cancer. The Siglecs–sialoglycan axis is, therefore, an emerging attractive therapeutic target to prevent or affect the course of several diseases. GLYTUNES addresses the challenge of understanding and exploiting the Siglecs-glycans axis by harnessing the synergy of combining chemical to biological, biophysical, immunological research strategies. Our interdisciplinary research programme aims to deliver new insights on mechanisms governing the complex Siglecs’ crosstalk with exogenous and endogenous sialoglycans, to be translated into the design, development and optimization of novel diagnostics and therapeutics, in particular synthetic glycomimetics.