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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, ChemistryOffice: FIP 348
Graduate student supervisor
Chemical biology: use of small molecules to study and manipulate biological systems; design of molecular tools to study the real-time dynamics of cellular events; using organic chemistry, natural products are modified to label proteins involved in cellular signaling; the biology questions studied focus on protein-protein interactions, astrocytes communication, synapse elimination, and neurodegeneration.
Courses & Teaching
Synthetic organic chemistry.
PhD, University of Toronto
MSc, University of Sherbrooke
BSc, University of Sherbrooke
Research Interests & Projects
The Menard lab works at the interface between chemistry and biology—we use small molecules to study and manipulate biological systems. The group provides a multidisciplinary environment where students and researchers work together to develop new chemical and biophysical tools for the study of living systems.
Our research is focused on the design of molecular tools to study the real-time dynamics of signaling proteins, with a strong emphasis on glial cells and astrocytes in particular. We use natural products as both starting point and inspiration in a unique chemical biology approach. We modify molecules to serve for the selective delivery of biophysicial reporter labels (imaging tags, photoaffinity labels, etc.)
The chemistry we develop is focused on molecular probes and biologically compatible reactions that can work efficiently in living systems. Design of the probes involves modern organic synthesis to modify molecules that are known ligands for a given protein. We also rely on physical organic chemistry principles to create reactions that can take place in the aqueous milieu that is the native cellular environment. As a general strategy, we exploit the innate selectivity of natural products that have been evolved by Nature to target specific proteins.
The biology questions we investigate focus on the interactions between astrocytes and neurons. In particular, we are working to unravel the role of key membrane protein through structural and functional studies. To answer these questions, we combine several techniques that range from molecular biology to electrophysiology and confocal imaging.
While new members typically join our team as synthetic chemists and learn additional skills according to their interests, we also welcome researchers from other disciplines who are looking to expand their scientific horizon and be part of an interdisciplinary environment.
We are currently looking for M.Sc. and Ph.D. students. Projects in chemistry include: synthetic organic chemistry, chemical biology, protein-labeling, and bio-conjugation strategies. Biology-related projects include: cellular physiology, fluorescence imaging, electrophysiology, and neurobiology.
Prospective graduate students interested in joining our group are encouraged to email Dr. Fred Menard. Enthusiastic and motivated students have the opportunity to begin research early, during Summer.
If you are interested in applying to graduate school in the Department of Chemistry at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, admissions take place through the UBC Okanagan College of Graduate Studies.
We are currently looking for talented and motivated undergraduates who are interested in research. To get details about 2013 Summer and/or Honours research projects, please contact Dr. Fred Menard.
Selected Publications & Presentations
Menard F., Du Bois J. “Aconitine reveals residues involved in the activation and inactivation of voltage-gated Na+ channels.” Manuscript in preparation.
Menard F., Andresen B.M., Du Bois J. “Synthesis and evaluation of aconitine analogs as selective modifiers of voltage-gated Na+ channels.” Manuscript in preparation.
Du Bois J., Menard F., Devlin A.S., Logan M.M., Toma T. “Novel compounds as modulators of voltage-gated sodium channels for pain treatment and biomolecular tools.” PCT US 61/453,105 US; WO 12/29302
Du Bois J., Andresen B.M., Menard F. “Aconitine compounds, compositions, uses, and preparation thereof.” Published 09/21/2012: US Patent 2,012,023,8526; WO Patent 2,012,125,871.
Sagamura H., Menard F., Lautens M., Dhirani A.A. “Apertured impedance microchips: Surface modification and evaluation using HPLC.” Sens. & Actuat. B: Chemical 2012, 173, 852.
Menard F., Perez D., Sustac-Roman D., Chapman T.M., Lautens M. “Ligand-controlled selectivity in the desymmetrization of meso cyclopenten-1,4-diols via rhodium(I)-catalyzed addition of arylboronic acids.” J. Org. Chem. 2010, 75, 4056.
Tsui G.C., Menard F., Lautens M. “Regioselective rhodium(I)-catalyzed hydroarylation of protected allylic amines with arylboronic acids. “ Organic Letters 2010, 12, 2456.
Yu, B.; Menard, F.; Isono, N.; Lautens, M. “Synthesis of Homoallylic Alcohols via Lewis Acid Assisted Enantioselective Desymmetrization.” Synthesis 2009, 853.
Menard, F. “Design, Synthesis, and Evaluation of a Novel 4-Aminomethyl-4-fluoropiperidine as a T-Type Ca2+ Channel Antagonist.” Chemtracts 2009, 21, 190.
Panteleev, J.; Menard, F.; Lautens, M. “Ligand-Control in Enantioselective Desymmetrization of Bicyclic Hydrazines: Rhodium(I)-catalyzed Ring-Opening or Hydroarylation.” Adv. Synth. Catal. 2008, 350, 2893.
Menard, F.; Lautens, M. “Chemodivergence in Enantioselective Desymmetrization of Diazabicycles: Ring-opening versus Reductive Arylation.” Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2008, 46, 2085.
Menard, F.; Weise, C.F.; Lautens, M. “Rh(I)-catalyzed carbonylative ring opening of diazabicycles with acyl anion equivalents.” Org. Lett. 2007, 9, 5365.
Menard, F.; Chapman, T.M.; Dockendorff, C.; Lautens, M. “Rhodium-catalyzed asymmetric allylic substitution with boronic acid nucleophiles.” Org. Lett. 2006, 8, 4569.
Bélanger, G.; Doré, M.; Menard, F.; Darsigny, V. “Highly chemoselective formation of aldehyde enamines under very mild reaction conditions. “ J. Org. Chem. 2006, 71, 7481.
Bélanger, G.; Larouche-Gauthier, R.; Menard, F.; Nantel, M.; Barabé, F. “Intramolecular additions of various p-Nucleophiles to chemoselectively activated amides and application to the synthesis of (+-)-Tashiromine.” J. Org. Chem. 2006, 71, 704.