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All cells on Earth possess a complex and unique coat of glycans. Despite being greatly understudied, it is already known that this sugary envelope plays a crucial role in biological communication processes, both in health and disease. Investigating how this "sugar code" is written, edited, and read is essential for deciphering it and discovering ways to influence these processes. Tom Wennekes, an Assistant Professor at Utrecht University, leads the ‘Chemical Glycobiology’ research group within the Department of Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery. His research focuses on developing sophisticated glycan-based chemical probes, inhibitors, and microarray technologies to explore and disrupt the role of glycans and the associated proteins involved in their lifecycle. This includes a focus on their role in symbiotic and pathogenic interactions within the human gut microbiome. His work has led to the development of a glycan-based small molecule antiviral for influenza treatment with a novel mechanism-based mode of action, which is currently approaching clinical trials. Tom applies a unique combination of synthetic bio-organic chemistry, surface chemistry, and chemical biology to glycosciences. His goal is to achieve a molecular-level understanding of glycobiology and to develop new glycotherapeutic and diagnostic tools for diseases involving host-pathogen interactions. He has published 62 papers in international peer-reviewed journals, including Science, PNAS, and Angewandte Chemie, with 13 as first author and 15 as corresponding author. His publications have amassed over 2700 citations, and he has an H-index of 26. Wennekes has received numerous competitive personal and collaborative research grants, including the NWO VENI & VIDI and the KNCV Pharmacochemistry award for the best medicinal chemistry PhD thesis in the Netherlands (2009), along with the Wiley-VCH Young Investigator Award at the International Carbohydrate Symposium (2012). Furthermore, he actively engages in making science accessible to primary school children through the Junior Science Lab and Kids University. As a founding member of the Utrecht Young Academy, he co-developed and organizes the "Waar of Niet Waar" (True or False?) program in collaboration with the UU Science Hub & University Museum. Wennekes teaches Chemistry and Chemical Biology courses in the BSc tracks of Pharmacy, Chemistry, and the College of Pharmaceutical Sciences; as well as the MSc tracks in Drug Innovation, Nanomaterials, and Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences. In 2024, he was shortlisted for the UU Outstanding Teacher Award.