Christopher Hulme, PhD

Director, Medicinal Chemistry
BIO5 Drug Discovery
Pharmacology & Toxicology

Dr. Christopher Hulme is director of medicinal chemistry at the BIO5 Translational Drug Discovery Center and is focused on small molecule drug design and developing enabling chemical methodologies to expedite the drug discovery process. The development of small molecule inhibitors of kinases is of particular interest. Projects are highly collaborative in nature, and students are exposed to the full array of design hurdles involved in progressing molecules along the value chain to clinical evaluation.

1. Therapies for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases
With 24.3 million people affected in 2005 and an estimated rise to 45 million in 2020, dementia is currently a leading unmet medical need and a costly burden on public health. Seventy percent of these cases have been attributed to Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a neurodegenerative pathology whose most evident symptom is a progressive decline in cognitive functions. Studies in the group focus on providing a significant mechanistic alternative to common approaches that solely focus on small molecule design toward APP-cleavage inhibition. In particular, ongoing efforts are aimed at the design of structurally novel small molecule inhibitors of the dual-specificity tyrosine phosphorylation–regulated kinase 1A (DYRK1A) and their evaluation of in vivo activity and measurement of in vivo tau phosphorylation and neurofibrillary tangles pathology in 3X-TgAD mouse models of AD. Moreover, DYRK1A has also been suggested to affect other cellular pathways that may be involved in mental impairment and neurodegenerative dementia.


Studies are being conducted with a long-term collaborator (Dr. Travis Dunckley) at Translational Genomics (TGen). Inhibition of DYRK1A functioning should theoretically mitigate multiple processes underlying the progression of neurodegeneration, particularly in the AD-related therapeutic area, for which key DYRK1A substrates include: (1) tau protein, (2) amyloid precursor protein, and (3) presenilin 1 (the catalytic subunit of γ-secretase), all pointing to clear mechanisms through which elevated DYRK1A activity may be promoting AD progression. Several other AD-related kinases are targets of current interest in the group (Smith B, Medda F, Gokhale V, Dunckley T, Hulme C [2012] Recent Advances in the Design, Synthesis, and Biological Evaluation of Selective DYRK1A Inhibitors: A New Avenue for a Disease Modifying Treatment of Alzheimer’s. ACS Chem. Neurosci., DOI: 10.1021/cn300094k).


2. Therapeutics Modulating Prostaglandin E2Production
Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is well known to play a pivotal role in processes associated with inflammation, pain, and pyresis and is over-expressed in various tumors where chronic inflammation has been linked to the growth of various cancerous tissues. Indeed, PGE2 has been identified as the major prostaglandin associated with the progression of various tumor malignancies, including that of the colon, lung, and breast. An ongoing project within the group is the development of novel small molecules that mitigate PGE2 production and display antitumor growth properties in vivo. Several novel series of small molecules have been developed and are under further investigation (Smith B, Chang HH, Medda F, Gokhale V, Dietrich J, Davis A, Meuillet EJ, Hulme C [2012] Synthesis and biological activity of 2-aminothiazoles as novel inhibitors of PGE2 production in cells. Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett., 22:3567–3570).

3. Enabling Chemical Methodologies
a. Applications of Multi-Component Reactions

The group also has a long-standing interest in the development of new reactions that produce biologically relevant molecules in an efficient manner. Indeed, front-loading screening collections with molecules possessing high “iterative efficiency potential” is critical for expediting the drug discovery process. Compounds derived from multi-component reactions (MCRs) demonstrate such potential, and thus their discovery and applications are of utmost importance. Closely linked with the Molecular Libraries Small Molecule Repository, the group seeks to develop operationally friendly chemistry that delivers products of high molecular diversity that ultimately enable library production and deposition of compounds in both national and local screening collections. A one-pot five-step transformation developed in the group is depicted (Xu Z, De Moliner F, Cappelli A, Hulme C [2012] Ugi/Aldol Sequence: Expeditious Entry to Several Families of Densely Substituted Nitrogen Heterocycles. Angewandte Chem., Int. Ed., 51:8037–8040).


Recent discoveries in the group have facilitated a new project toward the expeditious syntheses and application of novel dendrimer families, repetitively branched molecules that show high promise in drug delivery, gene delivery, and sensor technologies.

b. New Hypervalent Iodine Methodology and Applications
Novel hypervalent iodine–mediated C-H activation methodologies and their application for the preparation of novel peptidomimetics are an active area of research.

c. Organoselenium Chemistry
A recent discovery of a new selenium dioxide–mediated oxidative amidation is driving new studies in molecular diversity generation.


BS, Hertford College, University of Oxford, 1989
PhD, Hertford College, University of Oxford, 1992
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Texas, Austin, 1992–1994


  • Acetyl cyanide as a cyanide source in a tandem catalyst-free [4+1] cycloaddition-Stecker cascade (highlighted in Synfacts). Ariza, G.m.; Nunez-Rios, J.; Hulme, CTetrahedron Lett.201556, 1038-1040.
  • Cyrstal structures of N-tert-butyl-3-(4-fluorophenyl)-5-oxo-4-[2-(trifluoromethoxy)phenyl]-2, 5-dihydrofuran-2-carboxamide & 4-(2H-1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl)-N-cyclohexyl-5-oxo-3-[4-(trifluoromethyl_phenyl]-2, 5-dihydrofuran-2-carboxamide. Roberts, S.A.; Ariza, G.M.; Hulme, CActa Cryst.2015, E71, 199-202. 
  • Recent advances in allosteric androgen receptor inhibitors for the potential treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer. Ariza, G.M.; Hulme, CPharm. Pat. Anal. 2015, 4, 387-402. 
  • (Z)-Stereoselective synthesis of mono- and bis-heterocyclic benzimidazol-2-ones via cascade processes coupled with the Ugi multi-component reaction. Xu, Z.; Martinez-Ariza, G.; Cappelli, A.P.; Roberts, S.A.; Hulme, C. J. Org. Chem.201580, 9007-9015.
  • The synthesis of stable, complex organocesium tetramic acids via the Ugi reaction and cesium carbonate promoted cascades. Martinez-Ariza, G.; Ayaz, M.; Roberts, S.A.; Hulme, CAng. Chem., Int. Ed. 201540, 11672-11676. 
  • Zeta Inhibitory Peptide Disrupts Electrostatic Interactions That Maintain Atypical Protein Kinase C in Its Active Conformation on the Scaffold p62. Li-Chun, T.; Xie, L.; Dore, K.; Xie, L.; Del Riol, J.C.; King, C.C.; Martinez-Ariza, G.; Hulme, C.; Malinow, R.; Bourne, P.E.; Netwon, A.C. J. Biol. Chem., 2015290, 21845-21856. 
  • A facile and rapid route toward the synthesis of novel imidazo-tetrazolodiazepinones via post-condensation modifications of the Ugi-azide adduct (highlighted in Synfacts). Medda, F.; Martinez-Ariza, G.; Hulme, CTetrahedron, Lett.201556, 5295-5298. 
  • Computational Study of Organo-Cesium Complexes and the Possibility of Lanthanide/Actinide ions Substitution. Rabanal-León, W.A.; Martinez-Ariza, G.; Roberts, S. A.; Hulme, C.; Arratia-Perez, R. Chem. Phys. Lett.2015641, 181-186.  
  • Hulme C, Ayaz M, Martinez-Ariza G, Medda F, Shaw AY (2015) Recent advances in multi-component reaction chemistry: Applications in small molecule drug discovery. Small Molecule Medicinal Chemistry-Strategies and Technologies, Wiley-VCH Ed., Peter Hamley and Werngard Czechtizky.
  • Xu Z, Cappelli A, Ayaz M, De Moliner F, Hulme C (2014) Expeditious routes to polycyclic molecular frameworks via one-pot, two-step Ugi-ring closing sequences. Synlett., 25:225-228.
  • Kusne Y, Xu Z, Dietrich J, Hulme C, Ghoush S (2014) Targeting aPKC simultaneously disables cell autonomous and non-cell autonomous oncogenic signaling in GBM. Science Signaling, 7(338):ra75/1-ra75/15.
  • Medda F, Hulme C (2014) Exploiting the divalent nature of isonitriles: A novel MCR via a Pictet-Spengler-Amidination route. Tetrahedron Lett., 55:3328:3331.
  • Chen Y-H, Lu P-J, Hulme C, Shaw A (2014) Synthesis of (E)-5-methoxy-2-styryl-4-pyrones as potent growth-inhibitory agents against hepatocellular carcinoma cells. J. Het. Chem., 51:56-61.
  • Bell CE, Shaw AY, De Moliner F, Hulme C (2014) MCRs reshaped into a switchable microwave-assisted protocol toward 5-aminoimidazoles and dihydrotriazines. Tetrahedron, 70:54-59.
  • Ariza GM, Ayaz M, Medda F, Hulme C (2014) Synthesis of diverse nitrogen-enriched heterocyclic scaffolds using a suite of tunable one-pot multicomponent reactions. J. Org. Chem., 79:5153-5162.
  • Ayaz M, Xu Z, Hulme C (2014) Novel succinct routes to quinoxalinones and 2-benzimidazoylquinoxalinones via the Ugi reaction. Tetrahedron Lett., 55:3406-3409.
  • Ayaz M, Ariza GM, Hulme C (2014) A robust protocol for the synthesis of quinoxalines and 5H-Benzo[e][1,4]diazepines via the acid-less Ugi reaction. Synlett., 25:1680-1684.
  • Ayaz M, De Moliner F, Hulme C (2014) Reactions involving a carbonyl as third component. Third component cyanice (Strecker and Strecker-type reactions). Science of Synthesis Book Series, Multi-component Reactions 1:99-122.
  • Shaw AY, Gokhale V, Stratton SP, Hulme C (2014) Promising,  early stage novel androgen receptor antagonists in head-head comparisons with enzalutamide and bicalutamide. Abstract of Papers #2524, AACR Meeting Abstracts, San Diego, CA, April 5-9.
  • Lin C, Lu PJ, Yang CN, Hulme C, Shaw AY (2013) Structure-activity relationship study of growth inhibitory 2-styrylchromones against carcinoma cells. Med. Chem. Res., 22:2385-2394.
  • Medda F, Sells E, Chang H, Dietrich J, Chappeta S, Smith B, Gokhale V, Meuillet EJ, Hulme C (2013) Synthesis and biological activity of aminophthalazines and aminopyridazines as novel inhibitors of PGE2 production in cells. Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett., 23:528-531.
  • Shaw AY, Denning CR, Hulme C (2013) One-pot two-step synthesis of quinoxalinones and diazepinones via a tandem oxidative amidation-deprotection-cyclization sequence. Synthesis, 54:4467-4470.
  • Xu Z, De Moliner F, Cappelli AP, Hulme C (2013) Aldol reactions in MCR-based domino pathways: a multipurpose enabling tool in heterocyclic chemistry. Org. Lett., 15:2738-2741.
  • Gunawan S, Hulme C (2013) Construction of functionalized tricyclic dihydropyrazinoquinazolinedione chemotypes via an Ugi/N-acyliminium ion cyclization cascade. Tetrahedron Lett., 54:4467-4470.
  • Hsu M-Y, Dietrich J, Hulme C, Shaw A (2013) Synthesis of di- and tri-substituted imidazole-4-carboxylates via PBu3-mediated [3+2] cycloaddition. Synth. Comm., 43:1538-1542.
  • Hall GB, Medda F, Roberts SA, Hulme C (2013) 3-(4-Bromophenyl)-1-butyl-5-[1-(2-chloro-6-methylphenyl)-1H-tetrazol-5-yl]imidazolidine-2,4-dione. Act.Crys. Section E: Structure Reports Online, 66:o1102-o1103.
  • Chen YH, Lu PJ, Hulme C, Shaw AY (2013) Synthesis of kojic acid-derived copper-chelating apoptosis inducing agents. Med. Chem. Res., 22:995-1103.
  • Gunaway S, Hulme C (2013) Bifunctional building blocks in the Ugi-azide condensation reaction; a general strategy toward exploration of new molecular diversity. Org. Biomol. Chem., 11:6036-6046.
  • Medda F, Smith B, Gokhale V, Shaw A, Dunckley T, Hulme C (2013) Beyond secretases: kinase inhibitors for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Ann. Rep. Med. Chem., 48:57-71.
  • Martinez-Ariza G, Dietrich J, De Moliner F, Hulme C (2013) A tandem [3+2] cycloaddition-elimination cascade reaction to generate pyrrolo-[3,4-c]pyrrole-1,3-diones. Synlett., 24:1801-1804.
  • Snieckus V, Board J, Martinez-Ariza G, Dietrich J, De Moliner F, Hulme C (2013) A tandem [3+2] cycloaddition-elimination cascade reaction to generate pyrrolo-[3,4-c]pyrrole-1,3-diones. Synfacts, 9:1158.
  • Martinez-Ariza G, Ayaz M, Hulme C (2013) A simple one-pot, 2 step, N-1-alkylation of indoles with a-iminoketones toward the expeditious 3-step synthesis of N-1-quinoxaline-indoles. Tetrahedron Lett., 54:6719-6721.
  • Smith BE, Hulme C (2013) Drug discovery in academia: a student’s perspective. Abstracts of Papers, 246th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Indianapolis, IN, United States, September 8-12, MEDI-195
  • Smith B, Medda F, Gokhale V, Dunckley T, Hulme C (2012) Recent advances in the design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of selective DYRK1A inhibitors: a new avenue for a disease modifying treatment of Alzheimer’s? ACS Chem. Neurosci., 3:857-872.
  • De Molinera F, Hulme C (2012) A Van Leusen deprotection-cyclization strategy as a fast entry into two imidazoquinoxaline families. Tetrahedron Lett., 53:5787–5790.
  • Medda F, Hulme C (2012) A facile and rapid route for the synthesis of novel 1,5-substituted tetrazole hydantoins and thiohydantoins via a TMSN3-Ugi/RNCX cyclization. Tetrahedron Lett., 53:5593–5596.
  • Sells E, Medda F, Chang H, Gokhale V, Hulme C, Meuillet EJ (2012) Abstract 2834: Discovery of a novel class of prostaglandin e2 synthesis inhibitors with anti-tumor activity in colorectal cancer. Cancer Res., 72:1.
  • Xu Z, De Moliner F, Cappelli A, Hulme C (2012) Ugi/Aldol sequence: expeditious entry to several families of densely substituted nitrogen heterocycles. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl., 51:8037–8040.
  • Xu Z, Shaw AY, Nichol GS, Cappelli AP, Hulme C (2012) Applications of ortho-phenylisonitrile and ortho-N-Boc aniline for the two-step preparation of novel bis-heterocyclic chemotypes. Mol. Divers., 16:607–612.
  • Gunawan S, Keck K, Laetsch A, Hulme C (2012) Synthesis of peptidomimetics, δ- and ε-lactam tetrazoles. Mol. Divers., 16:601–606.
  • Ayaz, M, De Moliner F, Dietrich J, Hulme C (2012) Applications of isocyanides in IMCRs for the rapid generation of molecular diversity.  In “Isocyanide Chemistry”; Nenajdenko, V. Ed. Wiley-VCH: Weinheim, Germany; pp. 335–384.
  • Xu Z, Ayaz M, Cappelli A, Hulme C (2012) A general one-pot, two-step protocol accessing a range of novel polycyclic heterocycles with high skeletal diversity. ACS Comb. Sci., 14:460–464. 
  • Shaw AY, Denning CR, Hulme C (2012) Selenium dioxide-mediated synthesis of α-ketoamides from arylglyoxals and secondary amines.Tetrahedron Lett., 53:4151–4153.
  • Xu Z, Shaw AY, Dietrich J, Cappelli AP, Nichol G, Hulme C (2012) Facile, novel two-step syntheses of benzimidazoles, bis-benzimidazoles, and bis-benzimidazole-dihydroquinoxalines. Mol. Divers., 16:73–79.
  • Gunawan S, Ayaz M, De Moliner F, Frett B, Kaiser C, Patrick N, Xu Z, Hulme C (2012) Synthesis of tetrazolo-fused benzodiazepines and benzodiazepinones by a two-step protocol using an Ugi-azide reaction for initial diversity generation. Tetrahedron, 68:5606–5611.
  • Smith B, Chang HH, Medda F, Gokhale V, Dietrich J, Davis A, Meuillet EJ, Hulme C (2012) Synthesis and biological activity of 2-aminothiazoles as novel inhibitors of PGE2 production in cells. Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett., 22:3567–3570.
  • Shaw AY, McLaren JA, Nichol GS, Hulme C (2012) Hydrazine-mediated cyclization of Ugi products to synthesize novel 3-hydroxypyrazoles. Tetrahedron Lett., 53:2592–2594.
  • Shaw AY, Xu Z, Hulme C (2012) Ugi/Robinson–Gabriel reactions directed toward the synthesis of 2,4,5-trisubstituted oxazoles. Tetrahedron Lett., 53:1998–2000.
  • Shaw AY, Medda F, Hulme C (2012) Facile and rapid route for the synthesis of novel norstatine analogs via PADAM-cyclization methodology. Tetrahedron Lett., 53:1313–1315.
  • De Moliner F, Hulme C (2012) Straightforward assembly of phenylimidazoquinoxalines via a one-pot two-step MCR process. Organic Lett., 14:1354–1357.
  • Gunawan S, Petit J, Hulme C (2012) Concise one-pot preparation of unique bis-pyrrolidinone tetrazoles. ACS Comb. Sci., 14:160–163.
  • Gunawan S, Nichol G, Hulme C (2012) Concise route to a series of novel 3-(tetrazol-5-yl)quinoxalin-2(1H)-ones. Tetrahedron Lett., 53:1664–1667.
  • Roberts SA, Martinez-Ariza G, Dietrich J, Hulme C (2012) 2,4-Diphenyl-6-trifluoro-methyl-2,3-dihydro-1H,5H-pyrrolo-[3,4-c]pyrrole-1,3-dione. Acta Crystallogr. Sec. E: Struct. Rep. Online:E68.2:o496-o497.
  • Ayaz M, Dietrich J, Hulme C (2011) A novel route to synthesize libraries of quinoxalines via Petasis methodology in two synthetic operations. Tetrahedron Lett., 52:4821–4823.
  • Dömling A, Hulme C (2011) Editorial in “Special issue on Mini-MCR issue and SCS-09 - Second International Symposium on Combinatorial Sciences in Biology, Chemistry, Catalysts and Materials.” Mol. Divers., 15:1–2.
  • Gunawan S, Nichol GS, Chappeta S, Dietrich J, Hulme C (2011) Concise preparation of novel tricyclic chemotypes: fused hydantoin-benzodiazepines. Tetrahedron Lett., 51:4689–4692.
  • Xu ZG, Dietrich J, Shaw AY, Hulme C (2010) Two-step syntheses of fused quinoxaline-benzodiazepines and bis-benzodiazepines. Tetrahedron Lett., 51:4566–4569.
  • Dietrich J, Hulme C, Hurley LH (2010) The design, synthesis, and evaluation of 8 hybrid DFG-out allosteric kinase inhibitors: a structural analysis of the binding interactions of Gleevec®, Nexavar®, and BIRB-796. Bioorg. Med. Chem., 18:5738–5748.
  • Dietrich J, Kaiser C, Meurice N, Hulme C (2010) Concise two-step solution phase syntheses of four novel dihydroquinazoline scaffolds. Tetrahedron Lett., 51:3951–3955.
  • Meurice N, Wang L, Lipinski CA, Yang ZB, Hulme C, Loftus JC (2010) Structural conservation in band 4.1, ezrin, radixin, moesin (FERM) domains as a guide to identify inhibitors of the proline-rich tyrosine kinase 2. J. Med. Chem., 53:669–677.
  • Hulme C, Chappeta S, Dietrich J (2009) A simple, cheap alternative to ‘designer convertible isonitriles’ expedited with microwaves.Tetrahedron Lett., 50:4054–4057.
  • Hulme C, Dietrich J (2009) Emerging molecular diversity from the intra-molecular Ugi reaction: iterative efficiency in medicinal chemistry. Mol. Divers., 13:195–207.
  • Hulme C, Chappeta S, Griffith C, Lee YS, Dietrich J (2009) An efficient solution phase synthesis of triazadibenzoazulenones: ‘designer isonitrile free’ methodology enabled by microwaves. Tetrahedron Lett., 50:1939–1942.
Originally posted: September 9, 2013
Last updated: January 26, 2016
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