Derek Pratt
Derek Pratt
Full Professor

DRO 308
(613) 562-5800 ext. 2119

Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences


Prof. Pratt is an Ottawa native. He left in 1999 to pursue his Ph.D. and post-doctoral studies in the U.S. and then returned to Canada in 2005 for his first independent academic appointment at Queen’s University. In 2010, Prof. Pratt was recruited to uOttawa where he directs an internationally-recognized program in organic and biological chemistry. The focus of his program is the mechanisms and products of free radical reactions, and in particular, lipid (hydrocarbon) autoxidation and its inhibition by antioxidants. Prof. Pratt’s research, which involves synthetic organic chemistry, mechanistic organic chemistry and chemical biology, has lead to significant fundamental advances in organic and biological chemistry, but also to noteworthy practical developments, detailed in multiple patents and technologies under development with industrial partners. The breadth of the impact of these contributions, which span biology and medicine to fundamental and applied chemistry is evident in the following publications:

  • Mitchell H. Keylor, Bryan S. Matsuura, Markus Griesser, Jean-Philippe R. Chauvin, Ryan A. Harding, Mariia S. Kirillova, Oliver J. Fischer, Derek A. Pratt* & Corey R. J. Stephenson* Synthesis of Resveratrol Tetramers via a Stereoconvergent Radical Equilibrium. Science 2016, in press.
  • Zosia Zielinski & Derek A. Pratt* Cholesterol Autoxidation Revisited: Debunking the Dogma Associated with the Most Vilified of Lipids. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2016138, 6932-6935.
  • Ron Shah, Evan A. Haidasz, Luca Valgimigli & Derek A. Pratt* Unprecedented Inhibition of Hydrocarbon Autoxidation by Diarylamine Radical-Trapping Antioxidants. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2015, 137, 2440-2443. 
  • Evan A. Haidasz, Ron Shah & Derek A. Pratt* The Catalytic Mechanism of Diarylamine Radical-Trapping Antioxidants. Journal of the American Chemical Society2014, 136, 16643-16650.
  • Bo Li, Jitendra R. Harjani, Nicholas S. Cormier, Hasam Madarati, Jeffrey Atkinson, Gonzalo Cosa & Derek A. Pratt* Besting Vitamin E: Sidechain Substitution is Key to the Reactivity of Naphthyridinol Antioxidants in Lipid Bilayers. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2013135, 1394-1405.  
  • Min Huang, Graham E. Garrett, Nicolas Birlirakis, Luis Bohé, Derek A. Pratt* & David Crich* Dissecting the Mechanisms of a Class of Chemical Glycosylation Using Primary 13C Kinetic Isotope Effects. Nature Chemistry20124, 663-667.

Prof. Pratt’s research program is supported by grants from the Canadian government (NSERC Discovery, Discovery Accelerator and Collaborative Research & Development programs), the U.S. government (National Institutes of Health) and companies in Canada, the U.S., U.K. and Germany. His program has provided excellent training opportunities for students of all levels; to date, 21 graduate students, 40 undergraduate students and 8 post-doctoral fellows have pursued research projects under Prof. Pratt’s direction. Thanks in large part to their efforts, Prof. Pratt has often been recognized for outstanding research. For example, he has been awarded the inaugural Keith Fagnou Award in organic chemistry from the Canadian Society for Chemistry, the Canada Research Chair in Free Radical Chemistry, the Polanyi Prize of the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies, and most recently, an NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplement. See the Pratt Group’s website for further details about Prof. Pratt, his group and their research.

Research interests

  • Mechanistic organic chemistry
  • Synthetic organic chemistry
  • Chemical biology