• Health and Nutrition

Structural and Functional Glycobiology Unit (UGSF)

Research unit - UMR 8576


Our research aims to establish the link between the structure and function of glycans. In particular, we study the structure and function of complex carbohydrates associated with proteins or free polysaccharides as well as the enzymes involved in their biosynthesis and degradation. The main research topics of our laboratory cover a wide range of areas of interest, from the glycobiology of microorganisms and plant glycobiology to human health issues (glycopathologies). Our unit is composed of 10 teams articulated around 3 axes: structural glycobiology and modeling; biosynthesis, degradation of carbohydrates and their regulation; the function of carbohydrate molecules and their pathological disorders. We are open to all academic and industrial collaborations and propose services in line with our expertise.


  • Yann Guerardel
  • Simon Hawkins
    Assistant director


Bâtiment C9, Avenue Mendeleïev
Campus Cité Scientifique, Université de Lille


Structural and Functional Glycobiology Unit


Effectif total : 174

Personnel d'appui à la recherche : 47



• Structural glycobiology
• Biosynthesis and degradation of glycans
• Glycans regulations
• Function of carbohydrate molecules and their pathological disturbances
• Glycobiology of olfaction
• Regulation of terminal glycosylation
• Microbial genetics
• Genetics of bacterial envelopes
• Heparan sulfate diversity and inflammatory response
• Molecular mechanisms of N-glycosylation and associated pathologies
• O-GlcNAcylation, signaling and cell cycle
• Vegetable fibers
• Computational molecular and systems biology
• Regulation of division signals
• Glycobiology in fungal and clinical applications

Example(s) of publications

• M. Houdou, E. Lebredonchel, A. Garat, S. Duvet, D. Legrand, V. Decool, A. Klein, M. Ouzzine, B. Gasnier, S. Potelle, F. Foulquier, Involvement of thapsigargin and cyclopiazonic acid–sensitive pumps in the rescue of TMEM165-associated glycosylation defects by Mn 2+, The FASEB Journal. (2018) fj.201800387R. doi:10.1096/fj.201800387R. 🡭
• N. Yamakawa, J. Vanbeselaere, L.-Y. Chang, S.-Y. Yu, L. Ducrocq, A. Harduin-Lepers, J. Kurata, K.F. Aoki-Kinoshita, C. Sato, K.-H. Khoo, K. Kitajima, Y. Guerardel, Systems glycomics of adult zebrafish identifies organ-specific sialylation and glycosylation patterns, Nature Communications. 9 (2018). doi:10.1038/s41467-018-06950-3. 🡭
• Simon C, Lion C, Spriet C, Baldacci-Cresp F, Hawkins S, Biot C., One, Two, Three: A Bioorthogonal Triple Labelling Strategy for Studying the Dynamics of Plant Cell Wall Formation In Vivo Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. (2018) 57 doi: 10.1002/anie.201808493. 🡭
• Sendid B, Lecointe K, Collot M, Danzé PM, Damiens S, Drucbert AS, Fradin C, Vilcot JP, Grenouillet F, Dubar F, de Ruyck J, Jawhara S, Mallet JM, Poulain D.; Dissection of the anti-Candida albicans mannan immune response using synthetic oligomannosides reveals unique properties of β-1,2 mannotriose protective epitopes. Sci Rep. (2021) 11 doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-90402-4. 🡭
• Raab S, Gadault A, Very N, Decourcelle A, Baldini S, Schulz C, Mortuaire M, Lemaire Q, Hardivillé S, Dehennaut V, El Yazidi-Belkoura I, Vercoutter-Edouart AS, Panasyuk G, Lefebvre T.vCell Mol Life Sci.( 2021) doi: 10.1007/s00018-021-03857-z 🡭

Discover the full list of publications here.

Collaborations/Partners/Scientific clients

Institut Pasteur, Université Paris-Saclay

Academia Sinica (Taïwan), Nagoya University (Japan), Sapienza University (Italy), Leuven University (Belgium), Marburg University (Germany)

Services offers

Applications sectors

  • Biotechnology
  • Health / wellness
  • Agri-food industry
  • Science / Research

Services provided

• Molecule screening
• Mechanism of action studies
• Studies of the expression, biosynthesis and role of glycans
• Identification and synthesis of molecules for therapeutic use
• Identification of bioactive compounds
• Structural characterization of glycans and polysaccharides
• Molecular modeling

Training offers

We offer different microscopy courses (via our Image and Signal Processing Platform for Biology):
• Introduction to microscopy
• Introduction to confocal microscopy
• FRET studies

Consulting services

We provide consulting services related to all our areas of expertise.

Offres technologiques

  • DIAGMASS : Diagnosis method, by mass spectrometry, in sera, for invasive fungal diseases
    A "One Step" purification coupled to an analysis by mass spectrometry (MALDI TOF ) of human serum allows rapid, specific and highly sensitive detection of circulating fungal molecules (glycans). This method promotes early accurate diagnosis and favors an effective antifungal therapy, essential for patient survival. Read more


The UGSF contributes to several technological platforms (Glycoconjugate Analysis Platform, Image and Signal Processing Platform for Biology, and Biomolecular Interaction Analysis Platform) and benefits from access to state-of-the-art equipment. In addition, our unit is equipped with:
• BSL2 cell culture rooms
• qPCR machines
• mass spectrometer
• biochip analyzer
• liquid chromatography systems
• particle size analyzer
• pipetting robot
• biacore T200; Biacore 3000
• all basic equipment (cell culture equipment, cell and molecular biology, ultracentrifuges, freeze-dryers, homogenizers, spectrophotometers, etc.)


Affiliated institutions / organisations

Partner institution(s)


Doctoral schools

Competitive cluster

Regional strategic areas of activity

  • Health and Nutrition
    • Food ingredients