The advent of modern biology has brought about exciting avenues to design and use new chemical tools. Ben is a chemical biologist with a profound interest in the biology of carbohydrates (glycans). After completing his biochemistry undergraduate studies in Tübingen, Germany, he was trained in synthetic carbohydrate chemistry in the lab of Peter H. Seeberger at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces Potsdam and the FU Berlin. Developing vaccines against pathogenic bacteria based on synthetic glycans, Ben learnt to apply his compounds in biological settings in vivo and in vitro. For his achievements, he received the Award for Excellence in Glycosciences and, in 2017, the prestigious Otto Hahn Medal by the Max Planck Society.
During his postdoctoral work in the lab of Carolyn R. Bertozzi at Stanford University as an Alexander von Humboldt foundation Feodor Lynen fellow, Ben developed an interest for “precision tools” to study glycosylation of human cells in great detail. He started as a Group Leader at the Crick and Imperial College London in 2018 to develop such tools, using a combination of organic and chemo-enzymatic synthesis, molecular and cell biology. His work routinely incorporates recent methods of genome engineering and proteomics.