Professor Nicolas Moitessier, Ph.D.

  • Maitrise (University of Nancy, France, 1994)
  • Ph.D. (University of Nancy, France, 1998)
  • Postdoctoral fellow (University of Montréal, 1998-2000)
  • Chargé de recherche (Research senior, CNRS, Nancy, 2001-2003)



Nicolas Moitessier is an Associate Professor at McGill University, Montréal, Canada.

He received his undergraduate training and his Ph.D from Université Henri Poincaré-Nancy I (France) under the guidance of Dr. Yves Chapleur within the Groupe SUCRES. He carried out thesis research on computer-aided design and synthesis of carbohydrate-based biologically relevant molecules. He was first involved in the design and preparation of IP3 and Adenophostin A mimics using Sharpless asymmetric dihydroxylation as a key reaction. In collaboration with a theoretical chemistry group (headed by Dr. Maigret), he then focused on the computer-aided design and synthesis of carbohydrate-based antagonists of integrins.

In 1998, he moved to Montréal where he joined Prof. Stephen Hanessian group. His interests involved the docking study and the asymmetric synthesis of conformationally constrained MMP inhibitors. He was also involved in a project related to the preparation of aminoglycosides as antibiotics and in the design and preparation of BACE-1 inhibitors.

In 2001, he moved back to Nancy to start an academic career (Chargé de Recherche, CNRS) then back to Montréal in 2003 (Assistant Professor, McGill University). In 2009, He was promoted to Associate Professor. His current research interests integrate computational chemistry and organic/medicinal chemistry, spanning from software development to sugar chemistry and synthetic methodology. Among his achievements are the development of directing-protecting groups for regioselective carbohydrate functionalization, the development of a fully integrated computer-aided drug design platform (Forecaster) and computational catalyst/biocatalyst platform (Virtual Chemist), the development of novel methodologies for the synthesis of chiral cyclic and bicyclic scaffolds, the design, synthesis and evaluation of potential drugs with a focus on Alzheimer's disease and cancer.

Current computational efforts include the development of a novel molecular mechanics method, the development of tools for reactive metabolite predictions, for drug-drug interaction and covalent drug binding. In the wet lab, students and post doctoral fellows are developing asymmetric catalysts, biocatalysts, anti-cancer therapeutics and transient directing protecting groups.

In 2008, he received the first Reginald Fessenden Professorship in innovation for the development of the Forecaster platform in drug discovery. In 2009, he was awarded the AstraZeneca Award in Chemistry. In 2010, he co-founded Molecular Forecaster, a company distributing the developed software and providing service and consulting to local and international pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. He received the Fessenden Prize in Innovation in 2016 for the development of the Virtual Chemist platform. The same year he was appointed as Associate Editor of the European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry (IF 4.5).

Nicolas is co-author of 81 publications, 2 registered copyrights, and co-inventor of 2 patents and 4 reports of invention.