C.T. Hartman, Ph.D.

(804) 554-2549
Oliver Hall 3048

Hartman Group Website


B.S., Wheaton College, 1997
Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2002
Postdoctoral Research, Harvard University, 2002-2006

Honors and awards

  • Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award, 2012

Research interests

We are pursuing several different areas of cancer chemical biology research.

Protein-protein interaction inhibitors

Traditional small molecule drug discovery for protein-protein interaction inhibitors has routinely disappointed.  The Hartman Lab has developed a powerful process for the development of inhibitors of protein-protein interactions that involves a technique known as mRNA display.  The power of this approach is that we can effectively search for inhibitors from cyclic peptide libraries containing over 1013 unique variants, dramatically enhancing our chances of finding a viable inhibitor.  We can make these peptides more stable to degradation through the incorporation of modified, “unnatural” amino acids.  We are focusing our efforts on development of inhibitors of DNA repair protein complexes that can be used to sensitize cancer cells towards chemotherapy and radiation.

Drug delivery with light

New methods for selective delivery of drugs to the sites of tumors promise to reduce the awful side effects of cancer chemotherapy.  We have developed a new strategy to deliver therapeutic agents into cancer cells with light.  To achieve this we attach a cancer chemotherapy drug to a cell impermeable small molecule via a light cleavable linker.  The resulting conjugates are completely inactive in the dark, but upon illumination become active and cytotoxic to cancer cells.

Fluorescent sensors

New means for detection of small quantities of important biological analytes with fluorescence promise to make diagnosis of diseases simple.   Using an azido pyrene derivative, we have achieved selective fluorogenic detection of hydrogen sulfide, a gaseous signaling compound.  Relative to other sensors, our molecule is highly water soluble, making it ideal for detection of hydrogen sulfide in biological fluids.

Select publications

H.E.O. Franco, B.T. Chaloux, M.C.T. Hartman Spontaneous, co-translational peptide macrocyclization using p-cyanoacetylene-phenylalanine, Chem. Commun. 2022, 58, 6737-6740

B. Shakya, O.G. Joyner, M.C.T. Hartman. Hyperaccurate Ribosomes for Improved Genetic Code Reprogramming. ACS Synth. Biol. 2022, 11, 2193-2201 

Hacker, D.E.; Abrigo, N.A.; Hoinka, J.; Richardson, S.L.; Przytycka, T.M.; Hartman, M.C.T. Direct, competitive comparison of linear, monocyclic, and bicyclic libraries using mRNA display. ACS Comb. Sci. 2020. 22, 306–310.

E.S. Iqbal, S.L. Richardson, N. Abrigo, K.K. Dods, H.E.O.Franco, H.S. Gerrish, H. Kotapatic, I.M. Morgan, D.S. Masterson, M.C.T. Hartman. A new strategy for the in vitro selection of stapled peptide inhibitors by mRNA display. Chem. Commun. 2019. 55, 8959-8962.

K. Mitra, C.E. Lyons, M.C.T. Hartman*. A Novel Platinum(II) Complex of Heptamethine Cyanine for Photo‐Enhanced Cytotoxicity and Cellular Imaging in Near‐IR Light. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2018, 57, 10263-10267.

D.E. Hacker, J. Hoinka, E.S. Iqbal, T.M. Przytycka, M.C.T. Hartman* Highly Constrained Bicyclic Scaffolds for the Discovery of Protease-Stable Peptides via mRNA Display. ACS Chem. Biol. 2017, 12, 795.