Research in the Struwe Group centres on untangling the diverse and complex structure-function relationships of protein-linked oligosaccharides through the development of techniques that span protein engineering, chemical biology and mass spectrometry. Oligosaccharides, or glycans, are not only structurally diverse and contribute to remarkable protein heterogeneity but can be viewed as chemical elements that fine-tune protein biophysical properties and biomolecular interactions to various degrees.
The work we do focuses on host-pathogens interactions, principally among enveloped viruses, and our goal is to pin-point individual glycan structures, present among hundreds if not thousands of forms, responsible for discrete biological disease processes via the multivalent interactions they facilitate, including in receptor binding, immune recruitment and inflammation. A chemical understanding of such interactions is vital for designing next-generation therapeutics. Our approach is interdisciplinary but largely based on advanced methods in mass spectrometry and glycoprotein engineering strategies that enable us to study glycoprotein dynamics and transient, yet specific, glycan-dependent interactions.