Niels is group leader for Glycotechnology at CIC biomaGUNE and founder and CEO of Asparia Glycomics.
He received his diploma in Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Richard Schmidt, Konstanz on synthetic sialyltransferase inhibitors. Later as a European ITN fellow, he obtained his PhD in Chemistry (Konstanz University, Germany) for studies on the synthesis of glycosaminoglycans and GPI anchors on solid and solution phase under the guidance of Prof. Manuel Martin-Lomas, CSIC, Seville and Richardt Schmidt, Konstanz University.
After a postdoctoral stay with Nicolas Winssinger, Strasbourg developing methods for the synthesis of macrolides as protein kinase inhibitors he moved to Oxford as Research Scientist at Glycoform Ltd, a biotechnology company developing synthetic therapeutic glycoproteins.
In 2006 he moved to CIC biomaGUNE, San Sebastian to set up a Glycoscience laboratory in the North of Spain.
His group has published extensively in the areas of carbohydrate-protein interactions, microarray technology, synthetic carbohydrate chemistry and glycotechnology for glycan analysis. His work is especially recognized for the synthesis of complex oligosaccharides by solid-phase and chemo-enzymatic methodologies. In addition, his group has developed valuable tools and methods for deciphering the biological functions of glycans, including the identification of the fine specificities of immune lectins involved in pathogen recognition and viral entry. More recently, the group has developed high-throughput methods for the synthesis and screening of glycomimetics to target immune lectins and a novel methodology for glycoengineering of exosomes and viruses as vectors for drug and gene delivery.
Niels is co-inventor of 7 patents and has promoted two succesful spin-off companies: MDRenal, S.L., created in 2008 to develop tools for mass spectrometry based metabolomics and later acquired by Owl Genomics and Asparia Glycomics, founded in 2016 on glycotechnology developed in his lab.
In 2018 Niels received an award from the Basque Government as a recognition of his translational efforts from academia to industry.
From 2020, as CEO/CSO of Asparia Glycomics and together with a team of accomplished scientists, Niels transformed Asparia into a modern Glycoscience CRO offering advanced research services in custom synthesis, glycan analysis and glycotechnology to a worldwide customer base.