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The Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich is one of Germany’s leading research universities and has been awarded the designation of Centre of Excellence in recognition of its exceptional research quality.

The project leader, Prof Hans-Joachim Gabius, was appointed to the Chair of Physiological Chemistry in 1993 and heads a research unit built into a centre of glycosciences. Prof. Gabius has published more than 500 papers in peer-reviewed journals and edited six books, among them most recently a unique textbook termed The Sugar Code. Fundamentals of glycosciences (Wiley-VCH, 2009). Having biochemically purified the first lectins from murine and human tumours in 1984/85, he has pioneered analysis of lectins in tumours including the introduction of human lectins as tools in histopathology.

The research unit combines a large panel of biochemical and cell biological techniques with state-of-the-art engineering of lectin proteins and mammalian cell lines to study lectin/glycan functionality. In addition, the close cooperation with experts in computational chemistry and structural biology, most notably with other participants of this consortium, ensures the work to be undertaken here will unravel structural aspects pertinent for rational ligand design crucial for this project. Due to the equally close connections to clinical institutions, LMUM will form a well-proven hinge between basic (structural) science and clinical application. This aspect is highlighted by the selection of relevant publications, which have originated from cooperations with other participants of this consortium. The success-oriented joint work already performed between participants is a key factor in anticipating success of this project.

The research unit is fully equipped for recombinant protein production, purification and modification including state-of-the-art protein engineering and isotopic labelling for structural work. Certified biological safety areas enable tissue culture and cell engineering. In addition, in-house facilities are established for histochemical work facilitating processing of tissue sections and for maintaining animal models such as KO mice.