Sponsored by the Canadian Council of University Chemistry Chairs (CCUCC)

The Clara Benson Award is presented to recognize a woman who has made a distinguished contribution to chemistry while working in Canada.

View the Terms of Reference and list of Past Winners

The 2023 winner of the Clara Benson Award is:

Karine Auclair, MCIC
McGill University
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Auclair was born in Jonquiere and graduated with a Honor’s B.Sc. degree in chemistry from Université du Québec à Chicoutimi in 1994. After graduate studies focusing on Diels-Alderases at University of Alberta and a postdoctoral fellowship at UC San Francisco to study heme proteins, Auclair joined the McGill chemistry department in 2002 at the rank of Assistant Professor. She was promoted Associate Professor with Tenure in 2009, and Full Professor in 2016. Auclair was a Visiting Scientist at Boehringer Ingelheim (Laval) in 2010 and is now a Member of the Board of Directors at Carbios. Among several awards, Auclair holds the Canada Research Chair in Antimicrobials and Green Enzymes, and is recipient of two McGill Professorships (Fessenden and Tomlinson) and of the Leo Yaffe teaching award. Her success is further reflected in several patents, >100 invited seminars around the world, and close to 100 peer-reviewed publications in high profile journals, many of which have been highlighted extensively. Auclair has served on international grant selection panels, scientific committees, and research networks. She is a bioorganic chemist recognized internationally for her contributions to the field of antibiotic resistance and for the innovative concept of mechano-enzymology in moist-solid reaction mixtures

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Past Winners


Dongling Ma, MCIC

Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS)
Society: CSC

Joelle Pelletier, MCIC

Université de Montréal
Society: CSC

Alison Thompson, MCIC

Dalhousie University
Society: CSC

Diane Beauchemin

Queen's University
Society: CSC

Brigitte Guérin

Université de Sherbrooke
Society: CSC

Ann English, FCIC

Concordia University
Society: CSC

Yunjie Xu

University of Alberta
Society: CSC

Laurel Schafer

University of British Columbia
Society: CSC

Hélène Lebel

Université de Montréal
Society: CSC

Jillian M. Buriak

University of Alberta
Society: CSC