Glyco@Alps explores the fascinating structural diversity and complexity of sugars, including those found in the Alpine biodiversity, and focuses on their exploitation for biopharmaceuticals, medical diagnostics, personalized medicine, materials, environmental sustainability and innovative bio-industries


WP 1 : Alpine Glycoressources

One of the objectives of Glyco@Alps is to explore, inventory and evaluate the unique chemical and biological diversity of glycomolecules (oligo and polysaccharides, glycolipids) found in the Alps.

The prioritized axes are based on the following principles: firstly, to take into account the environmental conditions in high altitudes as a source of biodiversity to be explored; secondly, to evaluate the molecular diversity of oligosaccharides in a well-established alpine resources, i.e. forest and wood; thirdly, open a more prospective long-term program on original aspects of the Alpine biodiversity, i.e. microorganisms and microalgae.

Thus WP1 Glyco@Alps be rooted in our local territory, combining the exploration of the molecular diversity in an existing feedstock (wood), with the exploration of an unknown biodiversity (mountain microalgae), which valorization has a part of risk, but with an expected high added value.

Molecules & Materials

WP 2 : Sweet Biomolecules
WP 3 : Smart Glycomaterials

Glycans are complex molecules and Glyco@alps aims at deciphering of the glycocode, to understand the complexity of carbohydrate-protein interactions and to exploit this knowledge for applications in biology and health (therapeutic, diagnostic, theranostic).
Synthesis of molecular tools for applications in biology and health is one of the priority of the project.   In addition to producing and engineering glycomolecules, glyco- enzymes and lectins, new technologies will be enabled for characterizing all of these objects and probing protein-glycoconjugate interactions.

Glyco@alps will also take profit of the remarkable ability of sugars oligo- and polysaccharide to self organize into 2D or 3D structures that have outstanding properties most often difficult or even impossible to reproduce with synthetic materials. The complexity and cost efficiency of  natural structures (think of the cost and weight of a giant sequoia made of steel) is in that sense a source of inspiration to design biomimetic material, at least conceptually. In many cases, the hierarchy and organization level of the biological constructions requires a fine control at multi scales, from the molecular design to the structration at nano, micro and meso - scales


WP 4 : Enabling Glycotechnologies
WP 5 : Toward a glyco-economy: Innovation and sustainability

Glyco@Alps explore the role of glycoscience on the emergence and structuration of new industrial sectors by analyzing on the one hand their economic determinants and on the other hand the economic and environmental efficiency through a life cycle assessment.
The results provided by glycosciences have wide potential industrial applications in the health, cosmetic, sport, biomaterial, paper and wood industries, for instance. A specific emphasis will be given to the impact of glycosciences on mature industries and to analyze how they could be transformed and revived thanks to the development of new products and production processes. In parallel to the economic analysis, a life cycle analysis (LCA) will be performed on identified cases to study the environmental impacts of the new industrial process configuration.

The objectives are the identification of potential improvement levers to decrease environmental impacts (on the product, the process or the whole organization). This approach will be successful if at the end the provided life cycle models for LCA can be used in relation with the technico-economic analysis and if they provide means to companies (and more specifically to process and product designers) to make decision regarding environmental concerns.

Published on July 21, 2017