Research in the Boons Laboratory focuses on the synthesis and biological functions of carbohydrates and glycoconjugates. Part of their research effort focuses on the development of efficient and novel glycosylation methods including combinatorial and solid phase chemistry, the use of new approaches to control anomeric selectivity, the design of new protecting groups and the chemo-enzymatic synthesis of oligosaccharides. Some projects use synthetically modified saccharides to study the factors that are important for carbohydrate-protein complexation and it is hoped that these programs will lead to the rational design of saccharide mimetics that have improved affinities for particular proteins. Apart form synthesis, these projects require sophisticated structural and binding studies. Other programs deal with the preparation of oligosaccharides of biological importance and are often conducted in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies. The long-term objective of these projects is the development of novel carbohydrate-based drugs and vaccines.