Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics
Pratt School of Engineering
Duke University

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David N. Beratan, R.J. Reynolds Professor of Chemistry

David N. Beratan
Contact Info:
Office Location:  5311 FFSC
Office Phone:  (919) 660-1526
Email Address: send me a message
Web Page:

Teaching (Spring 2019):

    French Sci 4233, TuTh 10:05 AM-11:20 AM

Ph.D.California Institute of Technology1986
B.S.Duke University1980

Theory and Modeling
Biomolecular Structure and Function
Nanoscience and Materials
Research Interests:

Dr. Beratan is developing theoretical approaches to understand the function of complex molecular and macromolecular systems, including: the molecular underpinnings of energy harvesting and charge transport in biology; the mechanism of solar energy capture and conversion in man-made structures; the nature of charge conductivity in naturally occurring nucleic acids and in synthetic constructs, including the photochemical repair of damaged DNA in extremophiles; CH bond activation by copper oxygenase enzymes; the flow of charge in bacterial appendages on the micrometer length scale; the theoretical foundations for inverse molecular design - the property driven discovery of chemical structures with optimal properties; the exploitation of molecular diversity in the mapping of molecular and materials "space"; the use of infra-red excitation to manipulate electron transport through molecules; the optical signatures of molecular chirality and the influence of chirality on charge transport. Prof. Beratan is affiliated with the Departments of Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physics, as well as Duke's programs in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Structural Biology and Biophysics, Nanosciences, and Phononics.


bioenergetics • Biophysics • Biosensing Techniques • Chemistry, Physical • chemistry, physical and theoretical • Chemistry, Physical and Theoretical • Drug Design • electron transfer theory • Electron Transport • Electronics • Energy Transfer • inverse design • Models, Theoretical • Nanotechnology • Optical Rotation • Oxidation-Reduction • Oxides • Oxidoreductases • Quantum Theory • Semiconductors • Stochastic Processes • theory of chirality • tunneling pathways

Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)

  • Goke Ojewole  
  • Zheng Ma  
  • Chaoren Liu  
  • Chetan Rupakheti  
  • Ruibin Liu  
  • Gary Zhang  
  • Jiaxing Lin  
  • Nicholas Polizzi  
  • Yves Wang  
  • Nan Jiang  
Postdocs Mentored

  • Agostino Migliore (2013/01-present)  
  • Shoresh Shafai (2013/01-present)  
  • David Minh (2011 - 2013)  
  • Julia Contreras-Garcia (2009 - 2011)  
  • Aaron Virshup (2009/12-present)  
  • Aleksey Kuznetsov (2009-2013)  
  • Christopher Rinderspacher (2007 - 2009)  
  • Elizabeth Hatcher (2006-2007)  
  • Balamurugan Desinghu (2006 - 2010)  
  • Ravindra Venkatramani (2006-2012)  
  • Xiangqian Hu (2005-2011)  
  • Alexander Balaeff (2005-2012)  
  • Gerard Zuber (2004 - 2008)  
  • Shahar Keinan (2004 - 2011)  
  • Ilya Balabin (2004 - 2009)  
Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Teo, RD; Rousseau, BJG; Smithwick, ER; Di Felice, R; Beratan, DN; Migliore, A, Charge Transfer between [4Fe4S] Proteins and DNA Is Unidirectional: Implications for Biomolecular Signaling., Chem, vol. 5 no. 1 (January, 2019), pp. 122-137 [doi]  [abs]
  2. Seefeldt, LC; Peters, JW; Beratan, DN; Bothner, B; Minteer, SD; Raugei, S; Hoffman, BM, Control of electron transfer in nitrogenase., Current Opinion in Chemical Biology, vol. 47 (December, 2018), pp. 54-59 [doi]  [abs]
  3. Skourtis, SS; Beratan, DN, Editorial overview: Biological pathways for electrons, protons and photo-excitations., Current Opinion in Chemical Biology, vol. 47 (December, 2018), pp. A1-A3 [doi]
  4. Teo, RD; Smithwick, ER; Migliore, A; Beratan, DN, A single AT-GC exchange can modulate charge transfer-induced p53-DNA dissociation., Chemical Communications, vol. 55 no. 2 (December, 2018), pp. 206-209 [doi]  [abs]
  5. Teo, RD; Terai, K; Migliore, A; Beratan, DN, Electron transfer characteristics of 2'-deoxy-2'-fluoro-arabinonucleic acid, a nucleic acid with enhanced chemical stability., Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics : Pccp, vol. 20 no. 41 (November, 2018), pp. 26063-26067 [doi]  [abs]

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