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Matthew Hartman, Ph.D.

Massey Cancer Center research program membership

Developmental Therapeutics

Department affiliations

Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Humanities and Sciences


PhD, University of Michigan (1900)

Research description

1) Develop stapled peptide-PROTAC inhibitor of HPV replication - hydrocarbon stapled peptides that block the binding of HPV protein E2 and human protein BRD4. We identified the first peptide that is cell permeable and can block the interaction and turned it into a PROTAC, showing that it degrades E2 in cells, 2) Develop strategies for discovery of peptides that inhibit intracellular protein-protein interactions and methods for cyclization of peptide libraries enabling intracellular entry. Our goal is to develop libraries with over 10 trillion peptides to target N-myc in neuroblastoma and proteins involved in DNA repair, 3) Develop inhibitors of heat shock proteins to study mechanisms using peptide library techniques to develop peptides that bind to heat shock proteins. We developed technology to create shape-diverse peptide libraries to understand the molecular shapes that these proteins bind, 4) Develop strategies to expand the genetic code for creation of diverse peptide libraries. We isolate single tRNAs to charge them with unique amino acids to expand the building blocks in peptide libraries, 5) Investigate the influence of rigidity on binding affinity. We make peptide libraries of matched sequence but variable flexibility. In vitro selection helps understand which library contains the highest-affinity and most abundant binders, 6) Develop strategies to activate/deliver anticancer drugs with light. We created methods to block the activity of cancer drugs with deactivating group released with light, enabling selective activation upon illumination for tumor targeting. Our near-IR activated cisplatin compound delivers platinum and singlet oxygen, and we use head and neck cancer animal models to test targeted therapy.

Disease focus of research

Head & neck

Research keywords

Cancer cell biology,Chemical biology,DNA damage,Drug discovery,Screening,Targeted therapies

Published research (during tenure as a Massey Cancer Center member)

Search In PubMed

Contact information


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