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Charles Gauthier

Chimie des carbohydrates & produits naturels

Research project for a master's student in Experimental Health Sciences :





Carbohydrates are a class of natu rally occurring compounds involved in important biological processes such as immune response, tumour development and bacterial infections. Pure and structurally well-defined glycans are urgently needed for the in-depth understanding of these mechanisms as well as for the elaboration of sugar-based medicines. Glycans are often found as highly complex heterogeneous structures complicating their isolation from biological sources. Therefore, chemical synthesis stands as a method of choice for the preparation of pure glycans. Two major challenges are still facing carbohydrate chemistry today, i.e. the cumbersome multiple protection/glycosylation steps needed for the synthesis of high molecular weight glycans, and the lack of general procedures for glycosidic bonds formation.


Along these lines, the long-term goals of our research program are three-fold:


1) the development of novel one-pot protection/glycosylation methodologies aiming at streamlining the synthesis of oligosaccharides and their derivatives;


2) the development of efficient and stereoselective glycosylation reactions for the synthesis of biologically important glycosidic linkages found in the polysaccharides of pathogenic bacteria; and


3) the application of these procedures to the total synthesis of complex oligosaccharides and glycolipids in the context of developing vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutic agents.





Dr Charles Gauthier was born in Péribonka (Canada), which is a little town of no more than 500 people in the North of Quebec Province. In 2000, he attended Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC) to study chemistry at BSc level. After a summer work placement in polymer chemistry (Alcan), he discovered the field of natural products chemistry in LASEVE laboratory. He then pursued his graduate education (MSc and PhD) at UQAC under the guidance of Prof. André Pichette, chemist, and Prof. Jean Legault, clinical pharmacologist. His PhD studies (2005-2008), funded by the Fonds Québécois de Recherche sur la Nature et les Technologies (FQRNT), were focused on the synthesis of lupane-type triterpenoid saponins as a novel class of non-haemolytic anticancer agents. His MSc and PhD results have been published in twelve peer-reviewed papers and two patent applications. In 2009, Charles left the Canada and moved to France to undertake a postdoctoral fellowship (Vasant & Kusum Joshi and Bourses Emile-Roux) at the Institut Pasteur in Paris under the supervision of Dr Laurence Mulard. He worked there on the synthesis of acetylated decasaccharides as mimetic fragments of the Shigella flexneri serotype 2a antigen-O. The aim of his studies was to prepare a glycoconjugate vaccine in order to prevent shigellosis infections caused by S. flexneri 2a in developing countries. Funded by the FQRNT (2010-2011), he then came to the University of Oxford, UK, to undertake a second postdoctoral position within the Ben Davis group. His research focused on the preparation of chemically modified adenovirus vectors in collaboration with the Dept of Clinical Pharmacology. In September 2011, Charles came back to France and accepted a tenured position of "Maître de Conférences" in organic chemistry at the Université de Poitiers. His research project aiming at developing a semi-synthetic vaccine against melioidosis has been funded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche Jeunes Chercheuses Jeunes Chercheurs (ANR JCJC) and by the Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA). He has been an Adjunct Professor at UQAC since May 2012. Charles has published  more than 30 papers in peer-reviewed journals and presented his results in numerous national and international scientific meetings. Since July 2016, Charles is back to the "Belle Province" to start a new academic position as an Assistant Professor at INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier in Laval (Québec), Canada. This research University is the only member in North America of the Institut Pasteur International Network.


Professional Appointments & Education

2016-present: Assistant Professor, INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, Laval (Québec), Canada
2012-present: Adjunct Professor, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Canada            
2011-2016: Maître de Conférences, Université de Poitiers, Institut de Chimie IC2MP, Poitiers, France
2010-2011: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oxford, UK, Prof Ben G. Davis
2009-2010: Postdoctoral Fellow, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France, Dr Laurence Mulard
2005-2008: PhD in Natural Products Chemistry, Réseau de l'Université du Québec, Canada (thesis)
2003-2005: MSc in Natural Products Chemistry, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Canada (thesis)
2000-2003: BSc in Chemistry, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Canada

Honors & Awards

2018-2020: FRQS Research Scholars Junior 2
2015-2016: PhD Supervising and Research Bonus, Conseil National des Universités (CNU)
2012-2016: Agence Nationale de la Recherche Jeunes Chercheurs Starting Grant (ANR JCJC)
2012-2013: Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA) Funding
2010-2011: Fonds de Recherche Nature et Technologies (FQRNT) Postdoctoral Fellowship
2009-2010: Bourse Emile-Roux Postdoctoral Fellowship
2009: Vasant & Kusum Joshi Postdoctoral Fellowship
2009: Fondation Canadienne Louis-Pasteur Postdoctoral Fellowship (declined)
2008: Fondation de l'UQAC PhD Fellowship
2007-2008: Fonds de Recherche Nature et Technologies (FQRNT) PhD Fellowship
2007: Fondation de l'UQAC PhD Fellowship (declined)
2007: First Prize Science for Laymen, Université du Québec Network
2007: Association Francophone pour le Savoir (ACFAS) Bernard-Belleau Award (link)
2006-2007: Institutional Funding Program (PAIR-UQAC) PhD Fellowship
2005-2006: Abitibi-Consolidated MSc Fellowship
2004-2005: Gaston-L. Tremblay MSc Fellowship
2004: Work Abroad MSc Fellowship
2000-2001: Professors of Chemistry BSc Fellowship
2000-2001: Fondation du Royaume BSc Fellowship
1999-2000: Provigo-Loblaws Leadership Fellowship
1999: First Prize Science for Laymen, CEGEP de St-Félicien (Québec), Canada (La Société des Fourmis)
1998: Nominated for the Governor General's Academic Medal

Research project for a Master's student in applied microbiology or in experimental health sciences :