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 Biotechnology, in the department 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 that they do in our body. We then engineer new materials that exploit these functionalities.
We are particularly fascinated by the MUCIN biopolymers. They are glycoprotein (~40% protein, ~60% sugars) that form the mucus gels. Better understanding how mucins work is key to addressing many mucus-related diseases such as cystic fibrosis and inflammatory bowel disease.
The mucins in our body hydrate, lubricate, protect, and modulate cell behaviors (see our outreach page to learn more about mucins). As such it may also become a reference biopolymer for new generations of functional biomaterials.
We can harvest mucins from animal secretions or tissues including humans spit, 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, technology, and their societal impact. I believe that public research should be a public good and that researchers have a duty to reach out to all members of society and to involve them when possible. I also follow closely the recent changes to the research and innovation ecosystem, 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)