Principal investigator

Prof. Daan van Aalten, FRSE

I gained a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands, followed by a PhD in Biochemistry/Biocomputing at the University of Leeds. After postdoctoral work in protein crystallography at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, on an EMBO Long Term Fellowship, and the University of Oulu, Finland, I established my group at the University of Dundee with the help of a Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship, with a research focus in the area of molecular & cellular glycobiology. Key awards: EMBO Young Investigator Award (2002), Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowships (2004 and 2009), the Lister Prize (2006), Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2010) and Wellcome Investigator (2015). I have a personal chair in biological chemistry as of 2006, and am author on over 160 scientific papers. My long term interests are the molecular basis of biogenesis of the fungal cell wall, and the role of O-GlcNAc in neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases. For a good idea of what I like doing in my spare time, see here

Postdoctoral researchers

Sergio Galan Bartual

Since the completion of my PhD I have developed a strong idea of what I wanted in my scientific future and career: reveal novel strategies to deal with human bacterial disease. During my PhD I acquired a solid background on pathogenic bacterial population genetics and novel typing strategies. 
Searching for novel strategies in the combat against multidrug resistant bacteria I switch my interest on protein structures. As a result, I joined the group of Dr Van Raaij to learn X-Ray Crystallography of macromolecules. Nowadays, with the support of the Marie Curie fellowship I have started in DVA lab, Dundee a new research line to understand at functional and structural level the molecular mechanism of a new family of glycosyltransferases.

Mathew Stanley

Broadly, I am interested in the application of chemical approaches towards the study of biological systems for therapeutic benefit. A chemist by training, I obtained my PhD in synthetic carbohydrate chemistry (2011, Streicher Lab, University of Sussex) developing chemical tools and diagnostics for the study of influenza virus infection and sialic acid processing enzymes. Subsequently, I held a PDRA position within the MRC PPU (2011-2016, Virdee lab, University of Dundee) where I developed and applied novel chemical biology approaches for studying the ubiquitin system. My research within the DvA lab involves the discovery, design and optimisation of small molecules targeting the sugar processing machinery of the fungal cell wall as a route towards novel anti-fungal drug therapies.

Olawale Raimi

A Nigerian, Studied Biochemistry at the Lagos State University Lagos Nigeria, MSc Biochemistry at the University of Lagos and a Phd at the University of Dundee, UK. My project is focused on finding a potential inhibitor for enzymes directly /indirectly involved in fungi Cell wall synthesis using fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD) approach

Vladimir Borodkin

I am a synthetic chemist working on the development of novel OGT and OGA inhibitors as well as synthesizing various probes and peptides to study O-GlcNAcylation.

Chuan Fu

As a postdoctoral researcher I am developing Mass Spectrometry tools to study O-GlcNAcylation.

Scientific officer

Andrew Ferenbach

I’m originally from Edinburgh, schooled there, did my Undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology there. After spending a year’s working holiday in Australia I decided to apply to the 4-year Wellcome Trust PhD programme in Dundee. After graduating with a PhD in Biochemistry (DNA replication licensing) I spent 1 year as a PostDoc working on Colon Cancer in Ninewells Hospital, Dundee. I then worked for 18 months for Millipore in new product development (basically many custom clonings) before joining Daan’s group in 2009. I have provided custom cloning services since then and since January 2015 I also design and diagnose mutants generated using CRISPR/Cas9.

PhD students

Veronica Pravata

After having obtained a BSc in Biotechnology at the University of Palermo, I pursued with an MSc in Biotechnology for Industry and Research in the same university. During this period I had the opportunity to make an internship at the Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen (DZNE) in Munich, where I get interested in Neuroscience and post-transcriptional modifications. Hence, I decided to continue in the same field and thanks to the SPRINT-MND/MS Ph.D. Programme I had the pleasure to join the DVA lab, in collaboration with the Prof Peter Brophy (University of Edinburgh). My main project is about the role of O-GlcNAcylation in motor neuron disease. 

Xiping Chen

My name is Xiping Chen from the centre of China. My previous work during my master session was about the biosynthesis of quorum sensing signals of the phytopathogen Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris. And I joined Daan's lab in this October (2016) to study the development of inhibitors targeting cell wall biosynthesis of human fungal pathogen Candida albicans. I  like to do sports (e.g. badminton and swimming) with my friends during my spare time and that would fresh me from my daily work. Travelling and music can bring me a lot of fun too.

Kaizhou Yan

My research interest lies in protein, from proteomics to three-dimensional structure. As an undergraduate student in Hunan Agricultural University, I studied bacterial amylase zymogram and protein against Aspergillus flavus. As a master student in Guangxi University, I studied bacterial fibrinolytic enzymes, which includes enzyme fermentation, heterologous expression, zymography, purification and MALDI-TOF identification. I joined DVA’s group in 2016. My current research is to target phosphomutases in Candida albicans using structural biology and Fragment-Based Drug Discovery

Michaela (Mishka) Omelkova

I am a Wellcome Trust funded PhD student who joined the DvA lab in September 2018. I am interested in genetic and metabolic disorders and stem cells biology. My project in the lab is aimed at investigating the potential link between OGT mutations found in patients with intellectual disability and changes in gene expression, which may severely alter cell differentiation during early development.

Conor Mitchell

I am a BBSRC-funded PhD student on the Eastbio programme, jointly supervised by Professor Daan van Aalten and Dr Marios Stavridis. My project focuses on understanding the functional link between protein O-GlcNAcylation and X-linked intellectual disability. Prior to studying at Dundee, I completed my bachelor of science (with honours) in biochemistry at The University of York, interned for a summer in glycomics (Thomas-Oates group, University of York), and worked for a year in the analytical and structural chemistry group at AstraZeneca (oncology medicinal chemistry division).