Auclair Lab

Prof. Karine Auclair

Educational Background and Positions Held

Prof. Karine Auclair

Room OM422, Department of Chemistry, McGill University, 801 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 0B8
Email: karine.auclair(at)

2023-Current: Member of the Board of Directors at Carbios

2019-Current: Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Antimicrobials and Green Enzymes

2016-Current: Full Professor, Department of Chemistry, McGill University

2008-2016 Associate Professor with Tenure, Department of Chemistry, McGill University

2010: Visiting Scientist at Boehringer Ingelheim, Laval, Canada

2002-2008: Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, McGill University

1999-2001: Post-Doctoral Position in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California, San Francisco with Professor Paul R. Ortiz de Montellano
Projects: Mechanistic Studies on Cytochrome P450 Enzymes & Heme Oxygenases using Mutagenesis

1994-1999: Ph.D. Organic Chemistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton with Professor John C. Vederas.
Thesis: Biosynthetic Studies on the Polyketide Lovastatin: Enzyme-Catalyzed Diels-Alder Reactions

1991-1994: Honors Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Chicoutimi, Québec

More detailed background

Karine Auclair grew up in Jonquière, Québec. She completed a Honor's B.Sc. in Chemistry at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi in 1994. She then undertook a Ph.D. with Professor John C. Vederas (as an NSERC 1967 Awardee) in organic chemistry at the University of Alberta. In the course of her graduate studies, Karine Auclair contributed to dramatically improve our understanding of the biosynthesis of the cholesterol-lowering agent lovastatin by fungi. She was also the first to purify a natural Diels-Alderase, lovastatin nonaketide synthase (LNKS or LovB). Her work involved synthesis, natural product structure elucidation, biosynthetic incorporation experiments, cell free extract preparation, and protein purification. She also prepared a series of tethered triene that were tested as Diels-Alder substrates in the presence of commercially available enzymes or LNKS.

After she graduated in 1999, she joined the research group of Professor Ortiz de Montellano at the University of California (San Francisco) for a post-doctoral research position. For the following two years, her work involved studies of two families of heme proteins using techniques as varied as cloning, mutagenesis, and spectroscopy. The mechanism of P450 enzymes were studied using three different tools: 1) Mutation of the proximal thiolate heme iron ligand which led to the discovery of new roles for this ligand; 2) Radical clocks to demonstrate the formation of a radical intermediate and a measure of its lifetime (collaboration with Prof. Groves, Princeton University); 3) Photoaffinity labeling probes to study the geometry of the enzyme active site. The second group of enzymes studied was the heme oxygenases (HOs). In collaboration with Prof. LaMar, University of California, Davis, she participated in the elucidation of the human HO-1 structures by NMR. She also prepared fusion proteins of human HO-1 with P450 reductase and with glutathione-S-transferase.

Personal Interests

Apart from enjoying research and teaching, Dr. Auclair especially likes outdoor activities such as horseback riding, skiing, skating, hiking, biking, fishing and canoeing. Other hobbies of hers include gardening, farming and wildlife observation/identification.

McGill is located on unceded lands which have traditionally served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst diverse indigenous peoples. The Kanien’kehà:ka/People of the Flint (Mohawk) who are a founding nation of the Haudenosaunee/People of the Longhouse (Iroquois) Confederacy are recognized as the traditional stewards of the lands and waters.

McGill Land Acknowledgement

We are all treaty people.