The Team

Current group members and Alumni of the Designer Glycans lab

Dr. Cătălin Voiniciuc – Group Leader
(designing glycans since 2010)

Since 2022.03 – Associate Professor (Horticultural Sciences Department, UF)
2019.01 – 2022.02 – Independent Junior Research Group Leader (IPB Halle, Germany)
2016.04 – 2018.12 – Research Associate (University of Düsseldorf, Germany)

2016 – Ph.D., summa cum laude (RWTH Aachen University, Germany),
2012 – M.Sc. (University of British Columbia, Canada),
2010 – B.Sc., with distinction (UBC)

About me: My research in Vancouver (Canada)Jülich (Germany) and Versailles (France) identified novel regulators of polysaccharide structure using Arabidopsis seed mucilage mutants. After moving to Düsseldorf in May 2016, I developed a synthetic bology approach to study plant mannans in yeast. From January 2019 to February 2022, I ran an independent research group at IPB Halle to gain further mechanistic insight into the synthesis of matrix polysaccharides. In March 2022, I joined the University of Florida to lead its Plant SynBio efforts and further the Designer Glycans mission.

Outside the lab: family activities, football/soccer

Annika Grieß-Osowski – Ph.D. Student (designing glycans since 2019)

Education: M.Sc. (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany), B.Sc. (HHU)

About me: Throughout my B.Sc., I focused on metabolic pathways related to photosynthesis and biomass production in response to high light acclimation and carbon dioxide availability in Chlamydomanas reinhardtii and Arabidopsis thaliana. After exploring the influence of training interventions on type-2 diabetes mellitus during my M.Sc. thesis, I decided to rekindle my passion for carbohydrate biochemistry in plants. Therefore, I am happy to have the opportunity to investigate the mechanisms that regulate the elongation of plant cell wall polysaccharides.

Outside the lab: sports, going for walks, cooking with friends and watching anime series

Madalen Robert –  Ph.D. Student (designing glycans since 2020)

Education: M.Sc. (Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg), B.Sc. (Westphalian University of Applied Sciences)

About me: My Bachelor focused on the development of technical innovation based on various biological phenomena. Here I discovered my passion of using nature to solve relevant technological issues. Therefore, I studied molecular biosystems during my M.Sc. in order to understand complex biological processes on a system level to allow their specific alteration for various purposes. Now, I am happy to pursue my passion for the understanding of nature’s work-principles, by studying carbohydrate binding modules (CBM) as tools for designer cell walls.

Want to design glycans and advance your career with us?

Multiple positions are available: We are welcoming applications at all levels for our research laboratory at UF’s main campus in Gainesville, Florida.

Students (undergraduate or graduate) and postdoctoral scientists motivated to combine synthetic biology with carbohydrate biochemistry should express their interest in joining the Designer Glycans team by contacting Dr. Voiniciuc via email (cvoiniciuc [at]

For full consideration, the email should detail the candidate’s professional interests, CV (or resume for undergraduate students) and the contact details of references. The start dates are flexible.

December 2019 Lab Photo – Julian, Catalin, Annika, Bo, Christine, Benita and Stefanie