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Welcome to the research group webpages of Prof. Eoin M. Scanlan, Trinity College Dublin

The group has an active research programme in Synthetic Organic Chemistry with particular expertise in Glycoscience. Our aim is to design and synthesise novel biomolecules and bioconjugates including carbohydrate, lipid, peptide and protein conjugates as therapeutics. Our research is cross-disciplinary and involves collaboration with groups in Immunology, Biochemistry and Materials. At the core of our synthetic studies is the development of novel synthetic methodologies to access molecules of therapeutic interest.

Some current research projects include:

(i) Thiosugars are an extremely important class of glycosidase enzyme inhibitors, with applications as therapeutics for the treatment of HIV, diabetes and cancer. We have pioneered a highly innovative and efficient synthetic methodology for the preparation of these compounds using a novel thiol-ene cyclisation approach. The research has resulted in publications in leading, high-impact international journals including Chemical Communications, Organic Letters and The Journal of Organic Chemistry. This methodology facilitates the rapid synthesis of novel thiosugars suitable for biological screening. Our research was presented at the European Symposium in Organic Chemistry (ESOC), meeting in Lisbon in July 2015.


(ii) We have reported the first synthesis of glycosylated porphyrins decorated with synthetic oligosaccharides as targeted reagents for Photodynamic Therapy for cancer treatment. The methodology to prepare these molecules and subsequent in vitro studies has been published in Chemistry and European Journal of Organic Chemistry.


(iii) Mycobacterium tuberculosis establishes chronic infection and causes disease through manipulation of the host’s innate and adaptive immune response. We have recently reported the synthesis of an important class of biomolecules secreted by the bacterium upon infection and the first in vitro study of the immunomodulatory effects of these compounds in isolation from the host bacterium. The compounds were found to inhibit the production of inflammatory cytokines and this study offered the first fundamental insight into the effect of these glycans on the immune response; Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, 2014. The article was highlighted as a Key Scientific Article and Featured on Global Medical Discovery [ISSN 1929-8536] (http://globalmedicaldiscovery.com )


(iv) A recently published study on glycosylated surfaces, Chemistry of Materials and ACS Advanced Material and Interfaces, in collaboration with Prof Paula Colavita has resulted in an active commercialisation program funded by Enterprise Ireland and Diageo. The technology has resulted in two International Patents and the group is currently in discussions with major multinational corporation in relation to licensing of this technology.Please see further details on our Technology page.


For further information on these and other research projects, please visit our Research Page


Our research labs are housed in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute  (TBSI)