Dr. Hughes was born and raised in bucolic western New York, USA. In 1999 he graduated with a B.S. in biochemistry and a minor in Latin from Geneseo College. In 2004 he completed a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. There, he worked with Prof. Dirk Trauner on the chemical synthesis of two terrestrial and two marine natural products. Chambers was the first member of the then-nascent Trauner research group to earn a doctorate. Next, Dr. Hughes held an extended postdoctoral/research associate appointment with Prof. William Fenical at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. During this time, he led efforts in the discovery, synthesis, and chemical biology of several marine-derived bacterial natural products. In 2012 Hughes was hired as assistant professor at Scripps. He then joined his family, in 2019, in Tübingen and is currently a Research Group Leader in the Department of Microbial Bioactive Compounds at the University of Tübingen.
The Hughes Research Group specializes in microbial natural product discovery, synthesis, and chemical biology. We have characterized scores of natural products using a combination of NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry, we have completed several total syntheses, and we have identified the cellular targets of numerous secondary metabolites.