CORDIS - EU research results

Training interdisciplinary glycoscientists to get a molecular-level grip on glycocodes at the human mucosa–microbiota interface

Project description

The role of sugars in intestinal health

The human microbiome plays a key role in health by protecting the host from invading pathogens, producing key nutrients and maintaining intestinal immunity. At the same time, microbiome imbalances can contribute to disease. The EU-funded SWEET CROSSTALK project is interested to delineate the complex interactions between microbiota and host at the molecular level. Particular emphasis will be given to milk sugars, which resemble the sugars found at the gut mucus layer and contribute to infant gut microbiota composition. The work will lead to the development of sugar-based therapeutics with a potential to improve human health.


Sweet Crosstalk is a multidisciplinary European Training Network built to address the challenge of understanding, at a molecular level, how glycans are involved at the human mucosa–microbiota interface, and how this correlates with human well-being. Research into the human microbiome has reshaped the paradigm of our health and disease. In order to advance further, the time has arrived to understand it at a molecular level. Glycans dominate the microbiota-host interface and are thus ideally positioned to modulate these complex interactions.
The research strategy of the Sweet Crosstalk programme focuses on optimal synergy between chemistry and biology. Smart chemistry drives the research to get a molecular-level grip on the role of these glycocodes and their interacting proteins, and advances in biology directs the research. The high quality and credibility of our consortium is ensured by a strong private-public partnership with complementary expertise ranging from chemical synthesis, biochemistry, structural biology to microbiology and cell biology. Our 7 academic groups are all renowned leaders in the glycoscience and microbiome fields, whereas the complementary 4 SMEs are specialized in glycan-based diagnostics and prophylactic therapies. This unique combination of scientific excellence and industry know-how covers the entire process from obtaining fundamental insight to the development of innovative early diagnostics and glycotherapeutics.
Sweet Crosstalk also represents a unique research platform to train 15 outstanding Early Stage Researchers to be the new generation of innovative scientists with expert knowledge and skills in interdisciplinary glycoscience and human microbiome research. Our international, intersectoral and interdisciplinary training programme will equip them with the necessary scientific and transferable skills that will make them highly competitive for both top European research institutions and the healthcare/biotech job market.


Net EU contribution
€ 531 239,76
3584 CS Utrecht

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West-Nederland Utrecht Utrecht
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 531 239,76

Participants (10)

Partners (3)