Cells are covered with glycocalyx, a dense layer of glycans—oligo- and polysaccharides, which mediate important biological processes or participate in them by binding to specific proteins termed lectins. To study, modulate or inhibit these processes, we use glycomimetics, synthetically modified analogs of native (endogenous) carbohydrates. In particular, we employ fluorinated carbohydrates and carbohydrate-organometallic conjugates

In the area of fluorinated carbohydrates, we are interested in their synthesis, physicochemical properties and interactions with proteins. We study various ways, by which fluorinated carbohydrates, including oligosaccharides, can be accessed by chemical or chemoenzymatic synthesis. We are interested in conformational behavior of fluorinated saccharides and use NMR and X-ray analysis in combination with computational method to understand it. Of particular interest for us are interactions of fluorinated carbohydrates with lectins. We study the impact of fluorination on the affinity to lectins and we make efforts to understand the principles governing the recognition of fluorinated carbohydrates by lectins.

We develop novel carbohydrate-organometallic conjugates that exhibit promising antitumor properties. These complexes typically operate through a dual mode of action. The organometallic component harbors cytotoxic or antimetastatic properties, while the carbohydrate moiety ensures targeted selectivity towards cancer cells, leveraging their aberrant carbohydrate metabolism or interactions with overexpressed lectins. Our collaborative efforts extend across multiple biochemical laboratories, where the efficacy of these compounds is rigorously evaluated using both cancer and healthy cell lines, as well as patient-derived organoids.