Antoni Planas

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Dr. Antoni Planas

Group leader
Professor of Biochemistry
Bioengineering Department, IQS.
Protein engineering. Biocatalysis. Glycobiology.


Dr. Antoni Planas is Professor of Biochemistry and Head of the Laboratory of Biochemistry in the Bioengineering Department at the Institut Químic de Sarrià (IQS), Universitat Ramon Llull in Barcelona. He graduated in Chemistry (IQS, 1981) and Biochemistry (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 1987), and obtained the PhD in Chemistry in 1987 from the IQS, the doctoral work carried out between Barcelona and the Max-Plank Institut für Strahlenchemie in Germany. After two years postdoc in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UC Berkeley (with Prof. Jack Kirsch), he spent three years as Research Scientist at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Then he was appointed by the IQS in 1993 as Associate Professor, and promoted to Full Professor in 2003. He set up the research group Laboratory of Biochemistry at the IQS in 1993, promoted the construction of the Bioengineering Building in 2007 and the foundation of the Bioengineering Department, being the Head of the Bioengineering Department from 2007 to 2018. He has been Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley (1992), University of Antioquia in Colombia (1997 and 2006), INSA, Toulouse in France (2005), and Visiting Researcher at the Univ. of Connecticut, USA (2017-18, one year sabbatical leave).

Dr. Planas has been member of the board of the Societat Catalana de Química (IEC) from 2002 to 2008, is member of the International Committee of the Carbohydrate Bioengineering organization (since 2005), and affiliated to several scientific societies (RSEQ, ACS, AAAS, AIQS,). He has organized several scientific meeting, highlighting the organization of the 6th Carbohydrate Bioengineering Meeting (Barcelona, 2005), and organizer of EUROCARB2017 (European Carbohydrate Symposium) in Barcelona, July 2017. Since 2015 he is member of the board and Spanish representative at the European Carbohydrate Organization, where he was President 2015-2017. He is academic member of the Real Academia de Ciencias y Artes de Barcelona” since 2019, and member of the Life Science Division of EUCHEMS representing the Catalan Society of Chemistry since 2020.

Research activities are addressed to structural and functional studies of protein function and enzyme catalysis by combining molecular biology, protein and metabolic engineering, enzymology, organic synthesis, bioinformatics and molecular modelling. A major area of his research is in Glycosciences addressing molecular studies of carbohydrate active enzymes (CAZYmes) (glycosidases, glycosyltransferases, and esterases) involved in the degradation of polysaccharides and in the biosynthesis of oligosaccharides and glycoconjugates. In addition to the fundamental concepts of enzyme catalysis and mechanisms by these enzyme families, specific projects in Glycobiology seek applications in biotechnology, biomedicine, and food technology.. As most significant recognition, Dr. Planas received the Emil Fischer Award 2013 in Glycosciences by the European Carbohydrate Organization “in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments in the Glycosciences”.

Main Research areas 

  1. Protein engineering and enzymology of glycosidases, glycosyltranferases, and carbohydrate esterases
  2. Therapeutic targets in infectious diseases
  3. Biocatalysis: enzyme redesign, directed evolution of enzymes, and metabolic Engineering
  4. Amyloidogenic proteins in neurodegenerative diseases