The GLYCO-N doctoral network (DN) aims at training Doctoral Candidates (DCs) to acquire the skills to develop different innovative strategies to 1) understand the diversity and structural complexity of archaeal, microalgal and viral N-glycosylation and 2) harness this knowledge for new solutions in biomedicine and biotechnology.

Protein N-glycosylation, or the attachment of oligo- and polysaccharides at specific asparagine residues, is conserved throughout life, and is now observed even in the viral world. In contrast to higher eukaryotes, whose well-studied N-glycosylation machineries are relatively simple, archaea, microalgae and bacteria utilize a wide variety of monosaccharides to create a wealth of structurally diverse N-glycans, and the same holds for some recently discovered viruses. Because protein glycosylation occurs far downstream of protein synthesis (so genetics approaches are often not informative), the complexity and diversity in N-glycan structures are poorly understood in detail. This holds true specifically for N-glycosylation events that are the subject of the GLYCO-N program: those in archaea, microalgae, and viruses.

Understanding the how and why of N-glycosylation in archaea, microalgae and viruses will open up many possibilities ranging from drug discovery (antivirals) to biotechnology (glycoprotein and glycoprocessing enzyme engineering for materials sciences; the production of recombinant glycoproteins for use as biologics).

The GLYCO-N DN brings together a diverse group of glycobiology researchers with world-leading expertise in microbiology, (bio)organic chemistry, biochemistry, computational and structural biology, bioinformatics and chemical biology. The GLYCO-N DCs will have their own individual project with at least one GLYCO-N expert as a supervisor/tutor and will, through research internships (secondments), be exposed to complementary Glycoscience knowledge. While rooted in fundamental science, all individual doctoral projects have a practical application, either in biotechnology or in biomedicine, as will be explored through secondments with our Associated Partners (APs). In the GLYCO-N network events, the DCs will be trained and taught jointly via lectures, and presentations, by our Glycoscience experts about protein N-glycosylation from all angles.

Upon graduation, the DCs, will become the Glyco-scientists of the future.