Successful IBCarb workshop

IBCarb hosted a workshop UK-Latin-America Workshop “Glycobiotechnology Tools for Human Health” a joint event with the Glycoscience in Health Network (México) that took place at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, University of Manchester on 2-3 May 2017. Approximately 60 delegates attended this 2 day event.

 Our visitors from Latin-America who all gave key note talks were:

  • Ivan Martínez Duncker (Cell Dynamics Research Center. Morelos State Autonomous University, México)
  • Juana E. Reyes Martínez (University of Guanajuato – México)
  • Héctor M. Mora Montes (University of Guanajuato, México)
  • Yobana Pérez Cervera (Universidad Benito Juárez de Oaxaca – México)
  • Carlos Josué Solorzano Mata (Universidad Benito Juárez de Oaxaca, México)
  • Leila Lopes-Bezerra (Rio de Janeiro State University, Brazil

From the IBCarb network, Pauline Rudd (NIBRT, IE) & Rob Field (John Innes Centre) gave key note talks and there were a series of flash presentations from a number of IBCarb members.

During the discussions 3 key health areas were identified where glycobiotechnology solutions could address the challenges:

  • Human Gut Microbiome;
  • Carbohydrate based vaccines (including adjuvants and glycoconjugates);
  • Diagnostics/Precision Medicines.

Joint funding proposals will be developed between delegates. The workshop will be followed up by a event taking place at University of Guanajuato, México in October with support from the Newton Fund and a roadmap is planned for late 2017 so watch this space!

PhD – Fungal enzymes in plant carbohydrate degradation

Full project title: The enzymatic mechanism underlying fungal degradation of carbohydrates in plant lignocellulose

Supervisor: Dr Jolanda van Munster, University of Manchester


This interdisciplinary project investigates the enzymatic mechanism underlying fungal degradation of complex carbohydrates in plant biomass.

As efficient degraders of dead plant biomass, fungi are able to produce enzymes that can break down the complex of polysaccharides and lignin in the plant cell wall. This ability is exploited in biotechnology to release sugars from renewable resources which are subsequently used to produce high-value chemicals and second-generation biofuels. Understanding how fungi degrade biomass is a prerequisite for their exploitation as cell factory for biofuel enzymes, and for development of novel enzymes for the engineering of complex plant-derived carbohydrates. The response of industrially important fungi to lignocellulose has been studied extensively with regard to gene expression and protein secretion (1,2). However, we have limited understanding of how fungi and their carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes) affect the actual lignocellulose substrate, and the biochemical activity of a large proportion of plant degradative CAZymes has not been established experimentally.

This project investigates the enzymatic mechanism underlying fungal degradation of complex carbohydrates in plant biomass. We have recently established methods for the high-throughput informative screening of CAZyme activities on complex plant carbohydrates using glycan arrays coupled with mass spectrometry (3). In this project you will expand on these methods by using a combination of chemical and enzymatic synthesis to generate glycan arrays containing a defined set of enzyme substrates. These arrays will subsequently be applied to determine the substrate and product specificity of a subset of the CAZymes secreted by fungus Aspergillus niger during growth on agricultural waste. You will then investigate the localisation and effect of these enzymes on this plant substrate using fungal biology, molecular biology and surface characterisation tools.

For further information contact or read here:

IBCarb Proof of Concept – FINAL call, deadline 30th June 2017

IBCarb Proof of Concept funding is now available to support Academic-Industry partnerships that focus on strategic areas of glycobiotechnology. This is an open call and we will consider applications in each of our themes ToolsRenewables (materials, chemical and energy), FoodHealth and Societal Impact that align with the BBSRC Industrial Biotechnology agenda (see more here).

This is our final call for projects and we have ~£140,000 (at 100% FEC) left to allocate to IBCarb members.

Projects should:

  1. Be £20,000 at 100% FEC (i.e. £16,000 at 80% FEC) maximum value;
  2. Be no more than six months in duration;
  3. Commence no later than January 2018;
  4. Have strong industry/public support and steerage;
  5. Align with the BBSRC Industrial Biotechnology agenda;
  6. Follow BBSRC funding rules.

For further guidance and to download application forms please visit or contact the Network Manager (Dr Claire Doherty,

Deadline for applications is 30th June 2017.


PhD – Expanding galactose oxidase towards bioactive saccharides

Full project title: Expanding the selectivity and activity of galactose oxidase towards bioactive saccharide products

Supervisors: Professor Sabine Flitsch & Professor Nicholas Turner at University of Manchester

Description – This 4-year fully-funded PhD studentship is part of the BBSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Industrial Biotechnology, sponsored by BBSRC, Bio-Shape Ltd and Prozomix Limited and will commence in October 2017.

Summary – This project aims to generate a library of sugar oxidases with novel and highly specific substrate selectivity based on parent galactose oxidase enzymes. We will use a combination of homology searches of genomic databases (Prozomix Limited),directed evolution (The University of Manchester), high-throughput enzyme expression in bacterial hosts (Prozomix) and fast high-resolution analytical screening techniques (Bio-Shape Ltd and The University of Manchester) for enzyme discovery.

To find out more and to apply navigate here

Biochemical Society Job Board

The Biochemical Society will soon be launching a Job Board, listing molecular bioscience vacancies.This is a new platform to advertise vacancies (within both academia and industry) with the Biochemical Society. The service is free of charge for an initial period of six months and any vacancies can be submitted quickly and easily online.

Early Stage Researcher position – chemoenzymatic synthesis of sialylated oligosaccharides

This Early Stage Researcher (ESR) opportunity is available in the Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN European Training Network GLYCOVAX on; chemo-enzymatic strategies for the synthesis of sialylated oligosaccharides.

The GLYCOVAX network – A TRAINING NETWORK FOR THE RATIONAL DESIGN OF THE NEXT GENERATION OF WELL-DEFINED GLYCOCONJUGATE VACCINES – educates and develops promising young scientists to rationally design well-defined and innovative glycoconjugate vaccines to improve current preventive therapies and tackle unmet medical needs.

GLYCOVAX is based on a profound interaction between the academic and industrial sectors, involving 9 academic groups and 2 industrial partners with complementary expertise in chemical/enzymatic synthesis of carbohydrates, conjugation techniques, high-throughput screening technology, structural glycobiology, vaccinology and immunology.

In this highly multidisciplinary environment 14 ESRs will be trained in the growing field of glycoscience and vaccinology, enriching their skills and combining different state-of-the-art methodologies for the rational design of innovative glycoconjugates.

This vacancy covers a 26 month research position at The University of Manchester under the supervision of Professor Sabine Flitsch. The research may include a periodic research secondment hosted by another partner laboratory.

To find out more about the role and for details on how to apply click here