Fred Menard joined the Chemistry faculty at UBC's new campus in the Okanagan in 2013. He is working with his research group to create new chemical strategies to study proteins in living systems. The central question: “How (and why) do astrocytes interact with neurons in the brain?” motivates the research problems under investigation in the group.
Fred was a NSERC postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University in Prof. J. Du Bois’s research group from 2010 to 2013. During his postdoc, he investigated the molecular mechanisms that govern the function of voltage-gated Na+ ion channels using interdisciplinary approaches including chemical synthesis, molecular biology, and electrophysiology. In 2012, he pursued his work at the Stanford School of Medicine to translate his research towards next-generation anesthetics based on aconitine derivatives as treatment for neuropathic pain.
Fred earned a PhD in organic chemistry in 2010 from the University of Toronto, under the direction of Prof. Mark Lautens. His doctoral thesis focused on the development of rhodium(I)-catalyzed asymmetric desymmetrization reactions of meso alkenes. In 2002, Fred completed a BSc degree at Université de Sherbrooke; during which he performed research with Prof. Deslongchamps on the total synthesis of withaferine A. He then stayed on to earn a MSc under the supervision of Prof. G. Bélanger. The MSc thesis involved the study of cascade iminium reactions as a synthetic strategy to build complex structures rapidly.
In addition to academic research, Fred spent three semesters of Co-op research internships in industry—first at MDS Pharma in Montreal, then at Eisai Research Institute in Boston. Before joining graduate school, he also worked in process chemistry for half a year at Pfizer Global R&D in Groton, CT.