Francisco Javier Vilaplana Domingo
PROFESSOR, HEAD OF DEP.
My research deals with the biochemistry of complex carbohydrates, which are one of the fundamental building blocks of life. Complex carbohydrates, also known as polysaccharides, are natural polymers built by small sugar molecules as building blocks, which are responsible for essential metabolic, structural and regulatory processes in life sciences.
Feature article: Francisco Vilaplana: “I have always had a soft spot for the underdogs"
Director of KTH FOOD
Since November 2022 I am Director of KTH FOOD, a new research centre for sustainable and healthy food systems which aims to engage and align the education, research, and outreach competences at KTH towards a sustainable and healthy food system.
Read more here: New research centre shaping the future of food
If you are interested in performing an internship or your master thesis as a part of our team, feel free to contact me directly with your motivation and interests.
Presentation and reserch interests
I am a multidisciplinary scientist with experience incarbohydrate biotechnology,bioanalytical chemistry, andpolymer/materials sciences. My current research interests focus on the biotechnological exploitation of carbohydrates from biomass for applications as bio-based materials and improved nutrition.
The area of specialty of my research lays on understanding the complex molecular structure of cell wall and energy-reserve polysaccharides from plants and other eukaryotic organisms (e.g. fungi). We integratebioanalytical glycomic approaches (involving chemo-enzymatic fractionation, advanced chromatography, mass spectrometry, and statistics/bioinformatics), with supramolecular structural and biomechanical analyses. My ultimate aim is to provide models for the molecular architecture of eukaryotic cell walls. These structural models can be directly related to the biosynthetic pathways of the constituent carbohydrates in cell walls, their remodeling and self-assembly, their biological function, and macroscopic properties (e.g. digestibility, solubility, aggregation, rheological and mechanical properties).
Our fundamental research is directly aligned with the sustainability goals and towards the transition to a bio-based economy, with implications for the deconstruction of biomass carbohydrates, for the design of functional carbohydrate-based materials, and for understanding the nutritional and health implications of carbohydrate-rich foods.