Christopher Parkinson


Dr Christopher J Parkinson

BSc (Hons 1, University of Sydney) 1986, PhD (University of Sydney) 1991

Senior Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry
Building 1001 Room 85

Chris is a medicinal chemist who has pursued a scientific career in several countries around the world. After completing PhD studies at the University of Sydney, Chris moved to Colorado State University to undertake a postdoctoral fellowship in the total synthesis of sponge metabolites of medicinal interest. After this, he moved to London and took up a lectureship at the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine. After a few years in an academic posting, Chris took up a position of Chief Research Scientist at AECI Research and Development in Johannesburg to examine the production of generic pharmaceuticals. While still in South Africa, he moved to the CSIR and subsequently ran the small molecule drug discovery group at that organization. During his time at CSIR, Chris became one of the first 6 scientists to attain the rank of Chief Researcher and his work was awarded a number of accolades including the “Innovator Award” and “Career Achievement Award” while also being awarded the Merck medal for the best publication in the South African Journal of Chemistry. In 2012, Chris took up a position in medicinal chemistry at Charles Sturt University in the Pharmacy department.

Current member of Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) and the American Chemical Society (ACS)

Chris teaches mainly in the area of medicinal chemistry and drug discovery. This includes aspects of synthetic chemistry, how chemistry interacts with biology, pharmacokinetics (what your body does to a drug) and pharmacodynamics (how a drug works in your body). He uses many examples from his research career to show how concepts in these subjects work in the real world and believes that context (why and how something relates to real world applications) is at least as important as theory. So if you want to gain some experience as to how your basic learning in chemistry, biology and biochemistry can be harnessed towards discovering a new pharmaceutical drug or just want to know some more about how drugs might work, you should register for one of Chris’ classes!

Our research platform deals with the discovery and pre-clinical development of new pharmaceutical agents in the anticancer, antimalarial and antibacterial chemotherapy domains.  Our programs examine the role of reactive oxygen levels in our targets and how we can selectively elevate the levels of these species to effectively eliminate the target pathogen or condition. Once we demonstrate proof of concept in the Orange laboratories, we partner with outside agencies (both national and international) to further the development of our candidate drugs.


Development of thiosemicarbazide antimalarials

Novel peroxidic antimalarials related to the artemisinins


Development of phenoxazine antitubercular agents


Discovery of low dose synergistic drug combinations with a reactive oxygen endpoint

Discovery of highly active and low toxicity pyrimidine drugs in cancer

Modification of natural oxidant drugs (artemisinins) for effectiveness against cancer

Back to Staff listings