Catherine Gravel

Catherine Gravel, M. Sc.


In 2002, we synthetized a new cationic polythiophene derivative that allows simple optical (colorimetric or fluorimetric) detection of DNA oligomers.  This polymer, hybridized with a specific capture probe of single strand DNA oligomers (duplex), can be used to detect a complementary target.  In 2005, the detection limit of this technique was improved by labelling the capture probe with a fluorophore.  We then observed a massive increase of sensitivity described as fluorescence chain reaction (FCR).  Indeed, labelled duplexes formed aggregates in solution and when the polymer is excited, its energy is transferred by FRET to the fluorophore and then a fast energy transfer occurs between neighboring chromophores forming the aggregate. Improving the reproducibility of this method and understanding the FCR phenomenon is our present concern.

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Business Address

Université Laval, Département de Chimie, Pavillon Alexandre-Vachon,
1045 Av. de la médecine, Bureau 2417, Québec, Qc, Canada G1V 0A6

T : (418) 656-2131 # 8946  |  E :

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M. Sc. Chemistry Université Laval 2002-2004
B. Sc. Chemistry Université Laval 1999-2002

Trilingual: French (native language), English (fluent) and Spanish (intermediate level)

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Scientific Knowledge

Characterization Techniques

NMR, FTIR, UV-Vis Spectroscopy, Fluorescence Spectroscopy, GPC, Cyclic Voltammetry, Spectroelectrochemistry, Dynamic light scattering

General Knowledge

Organic synthesis (multi-step) and characterization of conjugated polymers, organo-metallic polymerization.  Organic synthesis and characterization of polymer resins, « scavengers » and supported reagents.

Biosensors, DNA detection by UV-vis and Fluorescence spectroscopy with polymer transducers.


Microsoft office Suite, Origin, ChemDraw, ChemSketch, Isis Draw, Spin Works, EndNote, Corel Draw.
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Positions Held

Research Associate
Department of Chemistry, Université Laval | 2006 – présent

  • Improvement of a PCR-free detection method of DNA
  • Scientific papers, multimedia presentations and conference preparation
  • Summer student supervision and Master student formation
  • Organic synthesis and characterization of polymers used for detection- Provided ideas to help resolving issues during group meetings

Matrix Innovation Inc.
945 avenue Newton, suite 13, Québec (QC), G1P 4M3 | 2004 – 2006

  • Organic synthesis and characterization of polymer resins, « scavengers and supported reagents
  • Organic synthesis scale-up

M. Sc. student and Researcher
Department of Chemistry, Université Laval | 2002 – 2004

  • Synthesis and characterization of ladder polyanilines for electrochromic applications
  • Preparation of a seminar and redaction of a master’s thesis
  • Provided ideas to help resolving issues during group meetings

Teaching assistant
Department of Chemistry, Université Laval | 2002 – 2003

  • Instructed and answered questions during weekly laboratory sessions for groups of 35 undergraduate students
  • Prepared evaluations and conducted exams
  • Lab report corrections

Research assistant
Department of Chemistry, Université Laval | 2001 – 2002

  • Full-time intership in organic synthesis in summer 2001
  • Part-time work in organic synthesis from september 2001 to april 2002

Analyste en qualité de l’air et gestion des déchets chimiques
Department of Chemistry, Université Laval | 2000

  • Air sampling
  • FTIR analysis of air samples
  • Collection and processing of chemical waste

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Scholarship And Awards

  • Desjardins college scholarship | 1998
  • Price Foundation award | 1999
  • Georges-Élie-Amyot Foundation Scholarship (M. Sc.) | 2003
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2. Bernier, S; Garreau, S.; Béra-Abérem, M.; Gravel, C., Leclerc, M., J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2002, 124, 12 463‑12 468

1. García-Martin, F., Quintanar-Audelo, M., García-Ramos, Y., J. Cruz, L., Gravel, C., Furic, R., Côté, S., Tella-Puche, J., Albericio, F., J. Comb. Chem., 2006, 8, 213-220.
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1. Catherine Gravel, Dec. 2003, Synthèse et caractérisation l’oligomères et de polymères en échelle, Seminar of Master degree, Université Laval, Québec, Canada.
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Poster Presentations

1. C. Gravel, H.A. Ho, N. Allard, M. Gagnon, F. Picard, M. G. Bergeron, M. Leclerc, Simple and reproducible PCR-free detection of DNA, MRS meeting, San Francisco, California, USA, 2008.
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