Mark Lautens was born in Hamilton and attended the University of Guelph where he worked with Gordon Lange and Patrick Henry. He completed his PhD in 1985 with Barry M. Trost at the University of Wisconsin-Madison then conducted postdoctoral studies with David A. Evans at Harvard University. He joined the faculty at the University of Toronto in 1987 and is currently University Professor, J.B. Jones Distinguished Professor and AstraZeneca Endowed chair of Organic Synthesis. From 2003-2013 he was an NSERC/Merck Frosst Industrial Research Chair.
Among his awards are the E.W.R. Steacie Fellowship, KIllam Fellowship, CIC Medal, A.P. Sloan Fellow, A.C. Cope Award, Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada, Lemieux and Bader Awards from the CSC, Alexander von Humboldt Awardee and Pedler Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK). Most recently he was invested as Officer of the Order of Canada. His research areas are in discovery and applications of novel catalytic reactions and strategies for the synthesis of bioactive molecules of interest to the pharmaceutical industry.