Prospective Students

Considering Joining the Charette Group?

You have decided to perfect your skills in chemistry research and are now looking for a laboratory that will be just right for you? We believe the Charette group can offer you the perfect environment to develop your academic potential or widen your career prospects. It draws its strength from various fundamental areas in which it is uniquely positioned to address all your needs and objectives.

State-of-the-Art Facilities

Our instrumentation, both in our labs and our department, is comparable to what can be found in the best research centers…

Renowned Supervisor

André Charette has an outstanding research and academic pedigree and is an international leader in the area of asymmetric processes…

Unique Language Experience

You can learn, improve and appreciate the French language both scientifically and socially at Université de Montréal…

Ideal Student Environment

We always strive to establish a friendly, supportive atmosphere in which you can flourish…

The Charette group has a reputation for high academic standards, where students are expected to devote their full time to research in the laboratory and to demonstrate a high order of professionalism, independence and intellectual involvement in their project. While the main research themes of the Charette group have not majorly changed over the years and remain within the PI’s renowned expertise of asymmetric cyclopropanation, some variations have occurred to keep up with the latest scientific trends and up-and-coming technologies. For example, the discovery of novel catalytic methods compatible with green chemistry (atom economy) and sustainable development as well as the design of ligands and their integration with novel supports amenable to continuous flow synthesis are just a few new hot themes that are closely investigated today. All students are trained to make complex organic molecules quickly and efficiently. They are expected to excel at writing reaction mechanisms for the majority of common organic transformations (through graduate courses, problem set sessions, literature meetings). Some may develop a strong background in physical organic chemistry if their project requires extensive mechanistic (identification of reaction intermediates) and kinetic (NMR, IR, calorimetry) studies while others may become proficient in using modern techniques (continuous flow synthesis, parallel synthesis).

The training of students is one of the top priorities in the Charette group, so the research program, infrastructure and work atmosphere that prevail are solely dedicated to providing them with the most relevant knowledge in modern techniques for organic chemistry necessary for their successful entry into the workforce.

The size of the Charette group is an interacting environment that everyone can enjoy: the ratio between junior and more experienced students is strategically well balanced to ensure a certain scientific maturity within each project. Each laboratory includes members who conduct research on a related topic to stimulate intra-group discussions. The PI tries to provide work conditions composed of the right mix of flexibility and the need for results. Students are encouraged to show a great deal of initiative on their assigned projects while knowing that they can always seek advice from their supervisor or fellow lab mates at any time.

Typically, The PI arranges for his students to work on projects that will allow them to become both technically proficient and intellectually independent. However, he makes sure that they do not end up trapped in research that goes nowhere, so he meets with them on a regular basis in order to monitor their progress and take appropriate measures/recommendations to complete the projects with enough publishable results within the timeframe of their studies. Much of the projects under investigation focus on the establishment of more chemically and economically efficient processes for potential application in the pharmaceutical and fine chemical sectors. Their expected scientific outcome is huge, as extensions in related fields (ex: biochemistry, materials science) can be easily envisioned. In terms of training value, the student working, for example, on zinc-catalyzed cyclopropanation using diazo derivatives will be in charge of making the starting alkenes that are not commercially available and the catalysts. He/she will then optimize the synthetic method and the catalyst’s structure to maximize the enantiomeric ratios (while learning the chiral separation techniques) and the yield of the transformation. He/she will also be responsible for fully characterizing the new compounds and writing a detailed experimental procedure.

Trainees are encouraged to show a great deal of initiative (= try new things) on their assigned projects while knowing that they can always seek advice from their supervisor or colleagues at any time. In other words, they are responsible for the evolution of their own research and should not expect the PI to tell them what to do next, but to see him more as a guide and teacher. Contract projects are usually carried out by research associates rather than graduate students so that they are not suffering from unacceptable delays in the publication output. Initially, students tackle methodology projects and, once successful, can apply their developed methods to a related total synthesis. This means that, at the end of their training, students of the Charette group are given the right tools and motivation to become the leaders of tomorrow by being readily employable and productive.

Among others, students will eventually:

  • Improve on their communication skills to become excellent scientific writers and speakers. As such, they are required to formally present their research progress in front of the group once every semester and at various national and international symposia at least twice during their studies (usually ACS or CSC meetings for Ph.D’s and QOMSBOC or ACFAS meetings for M.Sc’s, whether posters or orals). This exercise helps them develop the proper reflexes to prepare visually attractive slides, organize their ideas in a clear and logical manner, differentiate the essential from the non-essential, express themselves in a convincing way. Additionally, they are required to write the first draft of their articles (both main text and supporting information). The manuscript is then improved based on the input from their advisor/colleagues.
  • Perform multiple chemical transformations, reaction optimization and analysis by having hand-on access to state-of-the-art instrumentation both in the Charette group and at UdeM (ex: HPLC-MS, SFC, GC-MS, NMR, combiflash, glovebox, X-rays). The PI always makes sure that his students become well versed in the latest technological platforms and work well with others or alone, depending on the situation. Notably, he is among the first synthetic groups in Canada to offer training on continuous flow synthesis, SFC chiral separations, measurement of reaction kinetics using react IR and calorimetry.
  • Become scientifically mature by developing critical thinking in order to make original contributions to science and lead a project to the end in a timely fashion. This skill is promoted by having weekly research and literature group meetings and well as mechanism problem-solving sessions, where students must regularly browse through existing literature and apply all their theoretical knowledge to practical use in the laboratory. Bit by bit, they gain confidence in discussing their views on where their projects should be heading, in suggesting creative – but sound ideas – for the development of synthetic routes, or in challenging on an intellectual level instructions/procedures of others. Sometimes, the group is involved in a total synthesis activity, where students, divided into teams, must elaborate the total synthesis of a recent natural molecule from the literature – ideally one that is elegant and requires minimal steps – no matter if it is only feasible on a theoretical level. Based on feedback from former students, this is always a popular event, because it encourages creativity, collaboration and a bit of friendly competition.
  • Interact with other scientists – whether on a formal or informal level – about any kind of topics that is not necessarily in their field of expertise. To do so, the PI regularly invites students to participate in relevant conferences, not only to calibrate their research against others, but also to keep up with the latest developments or technical advances. In addition, the Department of Chemistry runs a seminar program, which invites prominent leaders of the profession. Students of the Charette group are quickly used to discuss chemistry at every opportunity: they are required to present their work to invited speakers or sometimes have lunch with them; they are active members of the FRQNT Centre in Green Chemistry and Catalysis and may be part of the NSERC CREATE program on Continuous Flow Science.
  • Handle a full range of supervisory duties, including the mentoring of undergraduate/junior students or teaching assistantships. Senior students are required to demonstrate their leadership abilities (a must for potential employers) by sharing with more inexperienced researchers all the know-how they have gained over the years to conduct research optimally (ex: accurate notebook keeping and registry of spectra; efficient literature search). Overall, students trained in the Charette group are given the right tools and motivation to become the leaders of tomorrow by being readily employable and productive.

In addition, the PI never judges on knowledge but rather on effort. This means that he will never prefer to hire a student simply because he holds a lucrative scholarship. On the contrary, he will often be more tempted to hire students who have not exactly performed well in their course curriculum but who can prove to be efficient in the lab.

Finally, the training of undergraduate students and foreign short-term interns is taken very seriously in the Charette group. In the eyes of the PI, it is very rewarding to get young minds excited about the world of organic chemistry, especially when they will likely further their education under his same guidance if they really enjoyed their first research experience. Statistically speaking, the PI has retained about 1/3 of students that way.

It should also be pointed out that international students are most welcomed in the Charette group, even if Université de Montréal is predominantly a French-speaking institution. The PI regularly hires students from all over the world, because he considers their background and experience to be an added value. In fact, this “language barrier” should not be viewed as a handicap for researchers whose mother tongue is not French or whose English is rather weak. Everybody is treated on equal footing, and all official group presentations are done in English, if only to ensure that students are quickly comfortable with public speaking, in preparation for conferences or job interviews.

Below you will find the testimonies that some former graduate students have written in their thesis regarding their supervisor or their colleagues, a sign that they still keep fond memories of their time in the Charette group.


Sylvain Taillemaud

Ph.D. 2017

J’ai passé en tout 5 ans dans les laboratoires du Professeur André Charette, avec à ma disposition tous les produits et tout le matériel nécessaires, et surtout avec une très grande liberté. Ce dernier point est particulièrement apprécié, car j’ai ainsi pu m’essayer à de nombreux projets différents et finalement persévérer dans celui qui me fascinait. Je le remercie aussi pour tout ce qu’il m’a enseigné, pour toutes les discussions stimulantes que nous avons eues et pour toutes les opportunités qu’il m’a permis de saisir. Je ne peux imaginer de meilleur environnement pour s’épanouir en tant que scientifique.


Guillaume Pelletier

Ph.D. 2013

Je tiens à remercier le Professeur André Charette de m’avoir accueilli dans son groupe, de m’avoir accordé d’innombrables heures à discuter et à peaufiner mes projets de recherche. Je le remercie aussi grandement de m’avoir accordé une grande liberté quant à la direction que je voulais prendre pour développer une recherche fondamentale qui me plaisait et me stimulait chaque jour. Il m’a aussi permis de découvrir en moi des qualités d’innovation, de persévérance, de patience et de leadership. Il m’a toujours incité à viser plus haut et à apprécier la recherche en chimie organique même si elle peut être parfois difficile (…) Il a aussi a fortifié ma conviction que rien de grand ne s’est accompli dans le monde sans passion, une passion que je partage avec lui pour la chimie organique.


Carolyn Ladd

M.Sc. 2013

I would like to thank my research director, André Charette, for the opportunity to work in his renowned research group. His broad range of knowledge and passion for chemistry was ceaselessly conveyed to his students resulting in a spirited motivation to achieving our goals. I am grateful that we were permitted to work independently in order to develop sound experimental reasoning while simultaneously being guided in group meetings. This, I believe, was prudent preparation for a successful future in academia and industry alike. Of course, I have to also thank my beautiful co-workers some of which have been more like family than anything. You guys are some of the most wonderful people and chemists I have met with the kindness, motivation and passion to match; it’s made a great working environment, so I am appreciative for knowing every one of you.


Angelique Fortier

M.Sc. 2013

I would like to thank my research director, André Charette, for the opportunity to work in his renowned research group. His broad range of knowledge and passion for chemistry was ceaselessly conveyed to his students resulting in a spirited motivation to achieving our goals. I am grateful that we were permitted to work independently in order to develop sound experimental reasoning while simultaneously being guided in group meetings. This, I believe, was prudent preparation for a successful future in academia and industry alike.


Vincent Lindsay

Ph.D. 2012

Une chose qui m’a toujours fasciné chez André Charette est sa passion inébranlable pour la chimie organique ainsi que sa capacité à la transmettre à ses étudiants, pour qui il voue un respect exemplaire. Il m’a toujours laissé la liberté de pouvoir décider de la direction à prendre quant à mes projets, tout en étant à l’écoute en cas de problème. Durant toutes ces années, il a réellement été pour moi un mentor exceptionnel et un modèle à suivre en recherche académique.


Dominic Fiset

M.Sc. 2012

La principale qualité que j’ai appréciée du Professeur André Charette est la confiance qu’il a en ses étudiants. Il n’hésite pas à nous laisser beaucoup de liberté dans notre recherche, ce qui a pour conséquence de faire des découvertes inattendues. De plus, sa passion immuable pour la chimie organique et sa capacité à la transmettre à ses étudiants m’ont particulièrement motivé et inspiré.


James Mousseau

Ph.D. 2011

Professor Charette’s zeal for research and dedication towards the success of his students has helped attract as well as furnish an environment that is not only exceptionally stimulating, but also is a pleasure to work in. Going to work quite simply was not going to work. He provided a work conditions composed of the right mix of freedom and flexiblity, and the need for results and progress. I thank him for his patience and for encouraging me to remain in my doctoral studies through difficult times. In addition to being an exceptional mentor I like to think I have gained a good friend and undoubtedly my experiences learned will serve me in my future endeavours.


Lucie Zimmer

Ph.D. 2010

Le Professeur André Charette a toujours eu à cœur la formation de ses étudiants dans le respect de leur propre implication. Dans mon cas, j’ai toujours trouvé qu’il me poussait toujours un peu plus loin que là où je pensais pouvoir aller et je l’en remercie.


David Marcoux

Ph.D. 2009

Le groupe Charette a réuni plusieurs excellents scientifiques qui ont souvent généreusement su partager leur opinion lorsque mon esprit était dans le brouillard. Merci à tous ceux que j’ai côtoyés au courant de ces 4 années; le partage de vos idées et les discussions stimulantes ont pris une place importante dans mon cheminement scientifique.


Christian Perreault

M.Sc. 2009

Je veux remercier sincèrement le Professeur André Charette. En me permettant de faire partie de son groupe de recherche, il m’a offert l’opportunité de concevoir, qu’avec de l’imagination et une bonne rigueur scientifique, les possibilités de création du chimiste sont sans bornes. Le rythme de travail effréné qu’il adopte pour sa carrière d’enseignement est une source de motivation continuelle pour donner son maximum au domaine fascinant de la chimie organique.


Marc Janes

Ph.D. 2008

Je suis très reconnaissant d’avoir œuvré dans l’environnement du Professeur André Charette, où il n’exige rien de moins que le meilleur des gens et dans lequel, grâce à la plénitude des ressources, nous ne sommes limités que par nous-mêmes.


Olga Lifchits

M.Sc. 2008

I would like to thank my supervisor, Professor André B. Charette, for giving me the opportunity to work in his successful and talented research group, and for his support, advice and a good sense of humour. His remarkable dedication to teaching, his knowledge of chemistry and an admirable enthusiasm for benching and paperwork alike have made my past two years in the group not only very educational but also highly enjoyable. I am deeply grateful for his trust, for the freedom to work independently, and for the excellent academic support that I received, anytime I needed it. I am also grateful to my fellow labmates, past and present, for their valuable help and friendliness, and for kindly accommodating my lack of French. Their impressive accomplishments have been a great source of learning and inspiration.


Alexandre Larivée

Ph.D. 2007

Le Professeur André Charette a eu une grande influence sur mon épanouissement professionnel autant pour sa rigueur scientifique, la liberté du champ de recherche qu’il m’a accordée, que pour le partage de son opinion personnelle sur une foule de sujets. Je tiens également à remercier tous les membres du groupe de recherche passés et actuels pour l’atmosphère familiale, grouillante et chaleureuse qu’ils ont créée à toute heure du jour et de la nuit.


Alexandre Côté

Ph.D. 2007

J’aimerais remercier le Professeur André Charette, qui m’a accepté dans son groupe de recherche. Sa rigueur scientifique et son dévouement à veiller à la réussite de ses étudiants sont autant de qualités qui ont suscité mon admiration et qui m’ont amené à me surpasser. Plus que tout, je voudrais souligner la grande générosité, tant intellectuelle que personnelle, qui l’anime en tant que superviseur. Alors qu’il pourrait user de sa notoriété pour son propre intérêt, il a toujours consacré son temps et ses fonds de recherche à nous procurer un encadrement exceptionnel (…). Je voudrais aussi remercier tous et chacun des membres du groupe Charette que j’ai eu le plaisir et le privilège de côtoyer pendant plus de cinq années et que je considère comme une deuxième famille. Ensemble, nous avons créé une excellente atmosphère de travail, laissant place à l’apprentissage, mais aussi à des plaisirs occasionnels ! Outre le bon temps passé sur les terrains de golf ou dans les bars du coin, ce sont les soupers improvisés de fin de soirée à l’université qui me manqueront le plus.


Jonathan Martel

Ph.D. 2006

J’aimerais exprimer ma sincère reconnaissance à mon superviseur de thèse André Charette. En m’accueillant dans son groupe de recherche au tout début de ma carrière, il m’a donné les outils tant techniques que scientifiques pour réaliser mes travaux de recherche dans une ambiance stimulante et motivante. Son professionnalisme, son inventivité et sa rigueur scientifique ont été des incitatifs constants vers l’excellence et le dépassement de soi.


Simon Mathieu

M.Sc. 2005

Je veux remercier sincèrement mon directeur de recherche André Charette. En m’intégrant à son groupe de recherche, il a su me donner un environnement de recherche académique des plus motivants. Il m’a également aidé à remonter la pente à plus d’une occasion lors de périodes chimiques plus creuses. Ce qui a été extraordinaire dans ce groupe est la diversité des connaissances auquel j’ai pu avoir accès étant donné la grande variété des projets passés et présents.


Claude Legault

Ph.D. 2005

Je voudrais sincèrement remercier mon superviseur de thèse André Charette. Son professionnalisme et sa rigueur scientifique m’ont donné les bases avec lesquelles j’ai pu accomplir mes recherches. Je le remercie pour son ouverture d’esprit et la liberté et la confiance qu’il m’a accordées pour me laisser poursuivre mes idées. Sur un niveau plus personnel, je tiens particulièrement à le remercier pour la mentalité qu’il a su me transmettre, c’est-à-dire que les possibilités sont infinies pour quelqu’un prêt à travailler.


Ryan Wurz

Ph.D. 2004

I would like to extend my most sincere thanks to my research supervisor professor André Charette. I feel greatly privileged to have been accepted into his research group, an experience that allowed me to greatly expand my knowledge of synthetic organic chemistry. On a more personal note, I greatly respect his insights and knowledge of chemistry, the enthusiasm he has for the research conducted in his laboratories and his generosity and support throughout my doctoral studies. The accomplishments that I have realized can be largely attributed to his relentless support and encouragement (…) I would also like to sincerely thank all the members of the Charette research group. I thank them for their teaching efforts and tolerance of my inabilities to fluently speak French and for accepting me as both a colleague and a friend.


Jean Emmanuel Bouchard

M.Sc. 2001

Je dois exprimer ma profonde gratitude envers mon directeur André Charette pour m’avoir donné la chance et le privilège d’être intégré au sein de son groupe. Je le remercie de sa compréhension, de ses conseils et du temps qu’il m’a consacré lors de mon séjour. La passion qui l’anime, sa rigueur et son autorité invitent au dépassement. L’atmosphère qu’il a su imprégner dans son équipe apporte une stimulation intellectuelle constante, nous procurant ainsi tous les outils pour nous développer pleinement en tant que chimiste organicien.