Dr Christopher Parkinson

Bachelor of Science with First Class Honors in Organic Chemistry Completed 1986, The University of Sydney, N.S.W., Australia Doctor of Philosophy in Organic Chemistry Completed 1990, The University of Sydney, N.S.W., Australia

Senior Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry
Building 1001 Room A85

Chris is originally from Sydney, NSW and completed his doctoral studies before leaving Australia to broaden his interests and pursue a career overseas. This initially involved a research fellowship at Colorado State University (coincidentally also CSU) examining the synthesis of the Calyculins (a class of sponge metabolites that displayed interesting phosphatase activity) and the applicability of these compounds in anti-cancer studies. At the conclusion of this fellowship, Chris moved to London to take up a faculty position at the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine. He then sought to pursue the applications of chemistry in the "real world", and took up a position leading a group at African Explosives and Chemical Industries (AECI) to examine new production techniques for pharmaceuticals for the African generics industry. This was just after the end of the apartheid era and South Africa was a nation looking at integration into the world after many years of trade sanctions. His group (employing up to 25 scientists at times) was later acquired by the CSIR (equivalent of the CSIRO) to became the centre of small molecule drug discovery activities in South Africa, focusing on diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV. During this time, Chris played roles in the establishment of the South African Malaria Initiative (SAMI) and served on the steering committee, was a work package leader in the European Union FP6 malarial drug development project (AntiMal), served on the steering committee of the South African National Drug Development Platform, and was part of the expert advisory panel on small molecule drug discovery (the emphasis was on discovery in developing countries) for ICS-UNIDO.  He ran the small molecule drug discovery group at CSIR until early 2012, before accepting a position in CSU Pharmacy at Orange in Medicinal Chemistry (returning to Australia after 22 years).  Chris has around 40 publications and patents and 50 presentations in scientific meetings spread across eleven countries.

Professional Affiliations
  • Royal Australian Chemical Institute
  • American Chemical Society
  • Former:
  • South African Malaria Initiative
  • National Drug Development Platform (RSA)
  • South African Chemical Institute
  • Roles within the School of Biomedical Sciences:
  • Research Committee Chair.
  • Honors Committee Chair.


Current subjects taught
  • Organic and Medicinal Agents - PHM320
  • Pharmacology - BMS340
  • Pharmacokinetics - PHM341
  • Hospital and Rural Pharmacy - PHM490
  • Research Methods - HRS410
Teaching Awards

Recognised Teacher - University of London. 1994

Chris' research targets the broad area of discovery of potential small molecule therapeutics (new pharmaceuticals or drugs). The activities in which he is involved range from synthetic chemistry, through pharmacology, to cell biology and microbiology.

The focus of these activities is molecules possessing activity against pathogenic micro-organisms such as Plasmodium falciparum (and to a lesser extent P. vivax) and Mycobacterial infections (M. tuberculosis, M. lepreae, M. ulcerans) and the induction of oxidative stress as an anti-cancer therapy. Biologically, he is also interested in overcoming the effect of upregulation of ATP synthesis on target survival (a drug stress response) and disrupting redox homeostasis in systems already under pressure (foreign bodies such as bacteria or protozoa, or cancerous cells where metabolism has been increased beyond normal parameters).

  • Discovery of antitubercular peroxides.
  • Oxidative cycling of clofazimine – low dose redox combinations.
  • The pyrimidinoquinolines.  A new class of antitubercular compounds.
  • Flavin analogues as antitubercular chemotherapy.
  • New types of antimalarial peroxide retarding the ATP stress response.
  • Quinolines not susceptible to charge gradient trapping – overcoming chloroquine resistance.
  • Metal Activation and reactive oxygen.
  • Selective generation of oxidative stress in cancer cells as a chemotherapy option.
  • Drug synergism through complementary targeting.

Akladios, F.N., Andrew, S.D., Parkinson, C.J.,Cytotoxic activity of expanded coordination bis-thiosemicarbazones and copper complexes thereof., J. Biol. Inorg. Chem., 21 (8), 931 (2016).

Akladios, F.N., Andrew, S.D., Parkinson, C.J., Improved Cytotoxicity of Pyridyl- substituted Thiosemicarbazones Against  MCF-7 when used as Metal Ionophores., Biometals., 29, 157 (2016).

Akladios, F.N., Andrew, S.D., Parkinson, C.J., Increased generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species initiates selective cytotoxicity against the MCF-7 cell line resultant from redox active combination therapy using copper-thiosemicarbazone complexes., J. Biol. Inorg. Chem., 21 (3), 407 (2016).

Ngwane, A.H., Panayides, J.-L., Chouteau, F., Macingwana, L., Viljoen, A., Baker, B., Madikane, E., de Kock, C., Wiesner, L., Chibale, K., Parkinson, C.J., Mmutlane, E., van Helden, P., Wiid, I., Design, synthesis and in vitro antituberculosis activity of 2(5H)-furanone derivatives.  IUBMB Life, 68 (8), 612 (2016)

Akladios, F.N., Andrew, S.D., Parkinson, C.J., Investigation of the cytotoxic implications of  metal chelators against Melanoma and approaches to improve the cytotoxicity profiles of metal coordinating agents., Biometals., 29, 789 (2016).

van der Westhuyzen, C.W., Rousseau, A.L., Hoppe, H.C., Kolesnikova, N., Parkinson, C.J.,  Synthesis of novel substituted α-methylamino derivatives of α-santonin as potential anticancer agents – Part 1: Eudesmanolide derivatives.  J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 7(5), 855 (2015)

Akladios, F.N., Andrew, S.D., Parkinson, C.J., Selective induction of oxidative stress in cancer cells via synergistic combinations of agents targeting redox homeostasis., Bioorg. Med. Chem., 23(13), 3097 (2015).

Zimmermann, S., Fouché, G., De Mieri, M.,  Yoshimoto, Y., Usuki, T.,  Nthambeleni, R., Parkinson, C.J.,  van der Westhuyzen, C.W., Kaiser, M., Hamburger, M., Adams, M., Structure-activity relationship study of sesquiterpene lactones and their semi-synthetic amino derivatives as potential antitrypanosomal products.  Molecules. 19(3), 3523 (2014).

Brady, D., Reddy, S., Mbwonisa, B., Steenkamp, L.H., Rousseau, A.L., Parkinson, C.J., Chaplin, J., Mitra, R,K., Moutlana, T., Marais, S.F., Gardiner, N.S., Biocatalytic enantiomeric resolution of  l-menthol from an eight isomeric menthol mixture through transesterification, J. Mol. Cat. B:Enzymatic, 75, 1 (2012).

Kenyon, C.P, Roth, R.L., van der Westhuyzen, C.W., Parkinson, C.J., Conserved phosphoryl transfer mechanisms within kinase families and the role of the C8 proton of ATP in the activation of phosphoryl transfer., BMC Research Notes, 5, 131 (2012).

Khan, T., van Brummelen, A.C., Parkinson, C.J., Hoppe, H.C., ATP and luciferase assays to determine the rate of drug action in in vitro cultures of Plasmodium falciparum, Malaria J., 11, 369 (2012)

Becker, J.V.W, van der Merwe, M.M., van Brummelen, A.C., Pillay, P., Crampton, B.G., Mmutlane, E.M., Parkinson, C.J., van Heerden, F.R., Crouch, N.R., Smith, P.J, Mancama, D., Maharaj, V., In vitro anti-plasmodial activity of Dicoma anomala subsp. gerrardii (Asteraceae): identification of its main active constituent, structure-activity relationship studies and gene expression profiling., Malaria J., 10, 295 (2011).

Matlaba, P., Rousseau, A.L., Parkinson, C.J., Multicomponent synthesis of Imidazo[1,2-a]pyridines using catalytic zinc chloride.  Tetrahedron Lett., 48, 4079 (2007).

van der Westhuyzen, C.W., Rousseau, A.L., Parkinson, C.J., Effect of Substituent Structure on Pyrimidine Electrophilic Substitution.  Tetrahedron, 63, 5394 (2007).

Zeevaart, J.G., de Koning, C.B., Parkinson, C.J., Copper(I) Iodide Catalysed Arylation of Acetoacetate to Yield 2-Arylacetic Acid Esters, Tetrahedron Lett., 48, 3289 (2007).

Parkinson, C.J., van der Westhuyzen, C., Synthesis of a structurally constrained endoperoxide having antimalarial activity from a-Santonin.  S. African J. Chem., 58, 41 (2005).

Awarded Merck Medal of South African Chemical Institute, 2009

Zeevaart, J.G., Parkinson, C.J., de Koning, C.B., Palladium – catalysed arylation of sulfonamide stabilized enolates.  Tetrahedron Lett., 46(10), 1597 (2005).

Pelly, S.C., Parkinson, C.J., van Otterlo, W.A., de Koning, C.B., Metathesis reactions for the synthesis of ring fused carbazoles, J. Org Chem., 70(25), 10474 (2005).

Dudas, J., Parkinson, C.J., Cukan, V., Chokwe, T.B., Design and scale up of a hazardous hydrogen peroxide mediated oxidation of an aliphatic alcohol.  Org. Process Res. Dev., 9(6), 976 (2005).

Zeevaart, J.G., Parkinson, C.J., de Koning, C.B., Palladium – catalysed arylation of acetoacetate esters to yield 2-arylacetic acid esters. Tetrahedron Lett., 45(22), 4261 (2004).

Anderson, O.P, Barrett, A.G.M.,Edmunds, J.J.,Hachiya, S-I., Hendrix, J.A., Horita, K., Malecha, J.W., Parkinson, C.J., VanSickle, A., Applications of crotyldiisopinocampheyl-boranes in synthesis: a formal total synthesis of (+)-calyculin A. Canad. J. Chem.,79 (2001)

Parkinson, C.J., Pinhey, J.T.,  The in-situ generation of alk-1-ynyllead triacetates from terminal acetylenes by zinc-lead exchange and crystal structure of 2,4,7,9,13-pentamethyl-9-phenylethynyl-7,10-ethenospiro[5.5]undeca-2,4-diene-3,8-dione. J. Chem. Soc., Perkin Trans 1, 1465 (1997).

Parkinson, C.J., Stoermer, M.J., 1H NMR evidence for the formation of vinyllead triacetates. The reactions of vinylmercury, vinyltin, and vinylboronic acids with lead tetraacetate. J. Organomet. Chem., 507, 207 (1996).

Parkinson, C.J., Pinhey, J.T,  Preparation of diorganolead dicarboxylates from aryllead tracetates: an investigation of ligand coupling in some diorganolead (IV) compounds. J. Chem. Soc., Perkin Trans 1, 3361 (1994).

Parkinson, C.J., Pinhey, J.T., Stoermer, M.J.,  Electrophilic vinylations by vinyllead triacetates and tribenzoates generated by tin-lead exchange. J. Chem. Soc., Perkin Trans 1, 15, 1911 (1992) .

Hambley, T., Holmes, R., Parkinson, C.J., Pinhey, J.T.,  Reaction of 2,6-disubstituted phenols with vinyllead triacetates and alk 1-ynyllead triacetates: synthesis of 6-vinyl- and 6-alkynyl-cyclohexa-2,4-dienones and crystal structure of 1,3,5,7-tetramethyl-3,5-bis (phenylethynyl)-1,3,4,4a,5,8a-hexahydro-,4-ethenonaphthalene-2,6-dione. J. Chem. Soc., Perkin Trans 1, 1917 (1992).

Barrett, A.G.M., Edmonds, J.J., Hendrix, J.A., Malecha, J., Parkinson, C.J.,  Stereocontrolled synthesis of calyculin A: construction of the C(26)-C(37) amide-oxazole unit. J. Chem. Soc., Chem. Commun.,1240 (1992).

Barrett, A.G.M., Horita, K., Malecha, J., Parkinson, C.J.,  Stereocontrolled synthesis of calyculin A: construction of the C(1)-C(14) tetraene nitrile unit. J. Chem. Soc., Chem. Commun., 1238 (1992).

Barrett, A.G.M., Edmonds, J.J., Horita, K., Parkinson, C.J.,  Stereocontrolled synthesis of calyculin A: construction of the C(15)-C(25) spiro ketal unit. J. Chem. Soc., Chem. Commun., 1236 (1992).

Parkinson, C.J., Pinhey, J.T., Use of the electrophilic arylation reaction of aryllead triacetates in synthesis of (.+‑.)-O-methyljoubertiamine and (.+-.) mesembrine.  J. Chem. Soc., Perkin Trans. 1, 1053 (1991).

Web Publications

Akladios, F.N., Andrew, S.D., Parkinson, C.J., Expanded Coordination Bis-Thiosemicarbazones and Copper Complexes as Cytotoxic Agents,  OncToday,


Braithwaite, D.H., Davidson, D.N., Gardiner, N., Jungmann, C.M., Khaile, T.J., Njamela, O.L., Parkinson, C.J., Skein, E.,  Steenkamp, L.H.,  Synthesis of 2-naphthylpropionic acid derivatives. WO 9719048, US 5 750 764

Chaplin, J.A., Gardiner, N.S., Mitra, R.K., Parkinson, C.J., Portwig, M., Dickson, M.D., Brady, D., Marais, S.F., Reddy, S.,  Process for preparing (-)-menthol and similar compounds, WO 0204384, US 7 026 144

Chaplin, J.A., Gardiner, N.S., Mitra, R.K., Parkinson, C.J., Portwig, M., Dickson, M.D., Brady, D., Marais, S.F., Reddy, S.,  Process for preparing (-)-menthol and similar compounds, WO 0236795

Kenyon, C.P, Parkinson, C.J., Rousseau, A.L., van der Westhuyzen, C.W., Glutamine synthetase - modulation of phosphoryl transferase activity.  WO 2007 105023A1

Recent Presentations

"Precedent in Drug Discovery:  A Benefit or a Barrier?",  Joint Meeting of the South African Chemical Institute and the American Chemical Society, Johannesburg, January 2011

"A new perspective on ATP", Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI), Biomedical in the Bush.  Katoomba, 2013

"New Antimalarials.  Overcoming resistance profiles and improving rates of action.", Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI), Biomedical in the Bush.  Katoomba, 2013

"Stealth Antimalarials."  Macquarie University, June 10, 2014.

"New Antimalarials – Preventing the stress response to drug pressure."  The University of Sydney, June 13, 2014.

"Artemisinins – Facts, fallacies and mechanism of action.", International Congress for Tropical Medicine and Malaria. Brisbane, 2016

"Activities of metal chelating semicarbazones including elesclomol against malaria and tuberculosis.", International Congress for Tropical Medicine and Malaria. Brisbane, 2016

"Selective generation of reactive oxygen – a remarkably selective approach to cancer chemotherapy." 4th International Conference on Advanced Pharmaceutical Research. Bangkok, 2017

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