Royal Institute of Technology
Welcome to the biopolymers for life group at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH, Stockholm, Sweden) led by Dr. Thomas Crouzier.
We are hosted within the School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health, in the Department of Chemistry and the division of Glycoscience. This website is a glassdoor to our research group and projects. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or suggestions you might have
We study and engineer one of the natural building blocks of our body: biopolymers. We focus especially on those made of sugars and/or protein.
Biopolymers have a surprising number of responsibilities in our body; they hold cells together to form tissues, they provide subtle chemical signals to cells to guide their behavior, they contribute to the skin’s hydration and elasticity, they lubricate our joints and gastrointestinal tracts, and protect us against toxins and pathogens by assembling into the mucus gel that covers our eyes and respiratory tract.
We seek to understand how these natural materials provide the wide range of functionalities they exhibit in our body. We then engineer new materials that mimic or enhance these functionalities.
We are particularly fascinated by the MUCIN biopolymers. Mucins are glycoproteins (~40% protein, ~60% sugars) that form the mucus gels. A better understanding of how mucins work is key to address the many mucus-related diseases, including cystic fibrosis and inflammatory bowel diseases.
The mucins covering our epithelium hydrate, lubricate, protect, and modulate cell behaviors (see our outreach page to learn more about mucins). As such, mucins may also become reference biopolymers for new generations of functional biomaterials.
We can harvest mucins from animal secretions or tissues including humans saliva, snails slime, pig stomachs, jellyfish, and many others.
I hold a PhD from the University of Montpellier, where I worked with Prof Catherine Picart on layer-by-layer assembly of biopolymer for the delivery of growth factors. I started working with mucin biopolymers during a postdoctoral appointment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, USA) under the guidance of Prof Katharina Ribbeck. After a short stay at the Ingénierie des Matériaux Polymères lab (Villeurbanne, France) where I worked on chitosan, I started a research group in the division of glycoscience in the school of biotechnology at the Royal Institute of Technology, KTH (Stockholm, Sweden).
I am passionate about science and technology. I believe that public research is a public good, meaning that researchers have a duty to reach out to society and to involve other stakeholders than their peers whenever possible. I also follow closely the recent changes to the research and innovation ecosystems, in particular with the advent of Open Science and Digital Science. I am running a blog on digital tools for researchers and have advised the European commission on these matters.
Royal Institute of Technology
Université Claude Bernard, IMP (Lyon, France)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA, USA)