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Sam Moons


I became interested in carbohydrate chemistry during my bachelor internship in the Boltje Research group. I also did my master internship in the Boltje Research Group under supervision of Rens Mensink, on the topic of a new approach on controlled stereoselective glycosylation using achiral auxiliaries [1]. Subsequently I worked in the group of Prof. James Paulson at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, USA. My supervisor was Dr. Corwin Nycholat, and I worked on the synthesis of glycan analog libraries to identify high affinity ligands for glycan binding proteins.

The positive atmosphere in the group, the challenge to chemically modify carbohydrates and the numerous applications of these molecules were stimulations for me to do a PhD in the Boltje Research Group, which will start in February 2018.

My project mainly focuses on sialic acid, a carbohydrate present at the terminal position of glycans. By synthesizing unnatural sialic acid analogues [2] and by using metabolic glycoengineering [3], I want to get a better understanding of the role of sialic acid human health and disease[4].


  1. Chemoenzymatic Synthesis of Sialic Acid Derivatives Using Immobilized N-Acetylneuraminate Lyase in a Continuous Flow ReactorBloemendal V.R.L.J., Moons S.J., Heming J.J.A., Chayua M., Niesink O., van Hest J.C.M., Boltje T.J., Rutjes F.P.J.T.*, Adv. Synth. Catal.
  2. α-Selective Glycosylation with β-Sulfonium ions Prepared via Intramolecular AlkylationMoons S.J., Mensink R.A., Bruekers J.P.J., Vercammen M.L.A., Jansen L.M., Boltje T.J*., J. Org. Chem.2019
  3. Sialic Acid Glycoengineering Using N-Acetylmannosamine and Sialic Acid AnaloguesMoons S.J., Adema G.J., Derks M.T.G.M., Boltje T.J., Bull C., Glycobiology2019.
  4. Uptake of sialic acid by non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae increases complement resistance through decreasing IgM-dependent complement activationOerlemans M.M.P., Moons S.J., Heming J.J.A, Boltje T.J., de Jonge M.I., Langereis J.D* Infect. Immun. 10.1128/IAI.00077-19