Glycobiology and Disease


At the end of the course, the student should have the ability to:

- To refer diseases whose mechanisms involve glycans

- To associate structure and the biological function of the glycans and of proteins (lectins, adhesins, antibodies) involved in their recognition.

-To refer state-of-the-art methodologies in Glycobiology for the study of glycans.

- To relate diagnostic methods / technologies for Congenital Diseases of Glycosylation (CDG), cancer and infection.

- To list therapeutics based on glycans or glycoconjugates and vaccine development, correlating with clinical application.

- To formulate questions related to diversity and function of glycans and its importance in pathology.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Paula Alexandra Quintela Videira


Weekly - 2

Total - 28

Teaching language



 Basic knowledge in Cell and Molecular Biology, Molecular Genetics, Microbiology and Biochemistry.


Essentials of Glycobiology.Varki A, Cummings RD, Esko JD, et al., editors. Essentials of Glycobiology [Internet]. 3rd edition. Cold Spring Harbor (NY): Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; 2015-. Available from:

Introduction to Glycobiology, Third Edition Maureen E. Taylor and Kurt Drickamer, Oxford University Press, Inc., New York. 2011, ISBN 978-0-19-956911-3


Artigos científicos selecionados

Disponibilizados pelos docentes na página MOODLE da disciplina.

Teaching method

 The teaching will be in Portuguese and English (in the case of foreign students).  

The curricular unit is organized into eight themes, each comprising theoretical, theoretical/practical classes and practices. This course will be in b -learning format: i.e. it contains face-to-face classes with teachers and, in addition, a part of teaching is online (videos, documents, forums), making use of computers and the internet as teaching tools. There will be two-thirds of theoretical classes (b-learning) and one-third of practical classes. Theoretical classes include distance-learning classes, online content with resources and videos of teachers. The curricular unit covers tutorial strategies with distance learning sessions and discussion forums on topics of interest. The practical classes include innovative technology and allow students to work hands-on in a variety of laboratory techniques. In this way, the student will update and expand his knowledge in glycobiology and develop critical thinking for application in glycosylation-related diseases. With these teaching methodologies, the aim is to captivate the student from the beginning of the curricular unit, to foster an active and collaborative participation, to foment discussion and criticism, allowing the students to interrelate the various themes among themselves and create bases for eventual application of Glycobiology in their future work.

Evaluation method


A weighted average of:

1) One written test with a 50% weighting (minimum grade of 9) that includes the subjects of all lectures; 2) Presentation and discussion of a scientific article with a 40% weighting; and 3) participation in e-learning lectures (includes quizzes in the moodle platform) with a 10% weighting.


Obligatory frequency to the practical and theoretical-practical lectures.

Subject matter


Type of class/ Syllabus


30/ 09

Introduction to the Curricular Unit/ Introduction to Glycobiology (part 1)

Paula Angelina Filipa

7/ 10

Theoretical: Introduction to Glycobiology (part 2): basic concepts of the glycan structural diversity


14/ 10

Theoretical: Biosynthesis of glycans – N- and O-glycosylation –ER-GOLGI secretory pathway and glycoprotein processing


21/ 10

Theoretical: Recognition of glycans by the immune system and immunomodulation. Inflammation and cell migration


28/ 10

Theoretical-practical: “Glycan-mediated microbial adhesion” - e-learning session




04/ 11

Theoretical: Molecular recognition of glycans by lectins in disease (infection and cancer). From structure to function. 


11/ 11

Theoretical-practical: Advanced methodologies in Glycobiology for the study of glycans – from molecules to cells


18/ 11

Theoretical-practical: “Mechanisms of cancer-associated glycosylation changes” - e-learning session




25/ 11

Practical: NMR for structural characterization of the glycan-protein interaction.


02/ 12

Practical: Glycan microarrays to assign glycan-binding specificity and glycan ligand discovery


09/ 12

Theoretical: Glycans and disease: Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation (CDGs) and human therapy


16/ 12


Presentation and discussion of scientific articles




06/ 01

Questions & Answers