Carbohydrates display an enormous structural and functional diversity. As polymers they are the major structural entities of plant cell walls, mammalian tissues, and of the extra cellular matrix of bacteria. Besides that they are the major energy sources of living organisms. Carbohydrates have great commercial and pharmaceutical uses; examples are starch and cellulose (harvested on a billion ton scale annually) to superfine chemicals such as heparin and antibiotics (isolated on a small scale). Also as functional food ingredient carbohydrates cover a wide area, from structure components to nutricial (probiotic) ingredient e.g. necessary in infant formulations. Although carbohydrates span a wide spectrum of functional properties and uses, in essence related chemical structures are involved. In the last decade great progress has been made in almost all carbohydrate areas.
Given the wide range of applications, there is an increasing demand for multidisciplinary trained scientists at the border area between the natural and life sciences. Scientists who understand on a molecular level the fine-tuning of life process found in Nature. Such knowledge may be used for designing new drugs and vaccines based on abundantly available carbohydrates. The training needs therefore require the contributions from both specialists and generalists in fundamental research, applied research, and development of new technologies. Often carbohydrate conferences focus on a special field or carbohydrate group. This Summer Course aims at bringing together world experts from various major carbohydrate areas to present and discuss the latest developments and insights, to cross-scientific borders and induce lateral thinking of lecturers and participants. Lecturers are recruited from renowned universities, institutes and industries to guarantee a very high-level of up to date content and to ensure the encounter of fundamental and applied approaches.