Center for Biologically Inspired Materials and Material Systems Center for Biologically Inspired Materials and Material Systems
Pratt School of Engineering
Duke University

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Katherine J Franz, Professor and Associate Chair of Chemistry and Professor of Center for Biologically Inspired Materials and Material Systems

Katherine J Franz
Contact Info:
Office Location:  2103 FFSC
Office Phone:  (919) 660-1541
Email Address: send me a message
Web Page:


Ph.D.Massachusetts Institute of Technology2000
B.A., magna cum laudeWellesley College1995

Biomolecular Structure and Function
Research Interests:

Research in the Franz group is involved in elucidating the structural and functional consequences of metal ion coordination in biological systems. We are particularly interested in understanding the coordination chemistry utilized by biology to manage essential yet toxic species like copper and iron. Understanding these principles further guides our development of new chemical tools to manipulate biological metal ion location, speciation, and reactivity for potential therapeutic benefit. We use a combination of synthesis, spectroscopy, and biochemistry in our work. Please visit our group website to learn more about our research.

Areas of Interest:

Bioinorganic Chemistry

Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)

  • Sayyeda Zeenat A. Razvi  
  • Kacey C. Hall  
  • Qin Wang  
  • Qiang Su  
  • Andrew Franks  
  • Mark Sleeper  
  • David Besse  
  • Marian Helsel  
Postdocs Mentored

  • Bruno Alies (2013/01-present)  
  • Prof. Anupa Kumbhar (Visiting Scientist from Univ. of Pune, India) (2010 - 2011)  
  • Filip Kielar (2009 - 2012)  
  • David Pham (2006-2008)  
  • Yohannes Tesema (2004-2007)  
  • Jianfeng Jiang (2004-2005)  
Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Franz, K. J.; Wang, Q., Detection of Metal Ions, Anions, Small Molecules and Biomolecules using Metal Complexes, in Inorganic Chemical Biology: Principles, Techniques and Applications, edited by Gasser, G., Ed. (2014), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: UK, ISBN 978-1-11851-002-5
  2. Safi, R.; Nelson, E. R.; Chitneni, S. K.; Franz, K. J.; George, D. J.; Zalutsky, M. R.; McDonnell, D. P., Copper Signaling Axis as a Target for Prostate Cancer Therapeutics, Cancer Research, vol. 74 (2014), pp. 5819-5831 [doi]
  3. Franz, Katherine J., Clawing back: broadening the notion of metal chelators in medicine, Current Opinion in Chemical Biology0 (2013), ISSN 1367-5931 [S1367593112001652], [doi]
  4. Kumbhar, Anupa A. and Franks, Andrew T. and Butcher, Raymond J. and Franz, Katherine J., Light uncages a copper complex to induce nonapoptotic cell death, Chemical Communications (2013), pp. 2460--2462, The Royal Society of Chemistry, ISSN 1359-7345 [C3CC38927H]  [abs]
  5. Franks, A.; Peng, D.; Yang, W.; Franz, K. J., Characterization of a photoswitching chelator with light-modulated geometric, electronic and metal-binding properties, Inorg. Chem (Submitted, 2013)

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