Dr Schumann, who is a group leader and senior lecturer at the Francis Crick Institute and Imperial College London, has earned acclaim for his talent for using chemistry solutions to tackle biological problems. He has a profound interest in glycans, which are carbohydrate-based polymers made by all living organisms serving structure, energy storage and system regulatory purposes.
His group uses synthetic chemistry to develop glycan-based tools and employ methods of molecular and cell biology to dissect the implications of glycans in health and disease. He has developed a range of novel technologies to solve complex issues surrounding limitations in biolabeling.
Some of his career highlights include the development of chemical tools to probe the activities of glycosyltransferase enzymes in living cells, and bio-orthogonal cell-specific tagging of glycoproteins (BOCTAG) addressing the important need of profiling the glycoproteins biosynthesised by individual cell types in co-culture.
In an international collaboration, his team members have used bioorthogonal chemistry to facilitate mass spectrometry of glycopeptides, for instance through the introduction of a permanent positive charge.
This innovation helped them to unveil an entirely unexpected function of O-linked glycosylation on the evolutionary trajectory of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern.