8 May 2018

Excellence in glycoscience at UIPS

Dr. Nuria Martinez Saez wins Young Researcher Award 2018

Photo by Ed Moret

The International Carbohydrate Organization has awarded the Young Researcher Award for 2018 to Dr. Nuria Martinez Saez.

She is a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow at the Chemical Biology & Drug Discovery (CBDD) group in the Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The award is given every two years to a young researcher (35 years old or younger) whom has shown international excellence in the field of glycoscience.

Throughout her career in glycoscience, Nuria has used chemical synthesis to help understand problems in the field of glycobiology. During her PhD studies, she developed methods to synthesize unnatural glycopeptides enabling the exploration of how their three-dimensional structures affect their molecular recognition by the immune system. Highlights of this work include the determination of the X-ray structure of a MUC1 glycopeptide bound to an anti-MUC1 antibody, revealing the key role of the carbohydrate in the recognition process; and the construction of a MUC1-based three-component vaccine that elicited immune responses in mice. In post-doctoral work at Cambridge she developed new protein conjugation technologies including methods exploiting oxetanes and sulfonyl acrylates, with particular highlights including the development of high-site-selective methods for disulfide and lysine modification. Her present work at CBBD involves the design of glycoconjugate vaccines with improved antimicrobial activity.

She will receive the award at the upcoming International Carbohydrate Symposium (ICS), Lisbon, Portugal from July 15 to 19, 2018.

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