Katherine J. Franz


Professor in the Department of Chemistry

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.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Professor in the Department of Chemistry
  • Member of the Duke Cancer Institute

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 2103 French Science Center, 124 Science Drive, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: +1 919 660 1541
  • Email Address: katherine.franz@duke.edu
  • Websites:


  • Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2000
  • B.A. Wellesley College, 1995

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Southern Chemists Award. Memphis Section of the American Chemical Society. 2022
  • Charles H. Stone Award. Carolina Piedmont Section of the American Chemical Society. 2021
  • Dean’s Diversity Award. Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Duke University. 2020
  • ACS National Award for Encouraging Women in the Chemical Sciences. American Chemical Society. 2020
  • Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring. Duke University Graduate School. 2016
  • Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation. 2009
  • Sloan Research Fellowship-Chemistry. Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. 2008
  • Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program. National Science Foundation. 2005

Courses Taught

  • CHEM 494: Research Independent Study
  • CHEM 493: Research Independent Study
  • CHEM 394: Research Independent Study
  • CHEM 393: Research Independent Study

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Hunsaker, EW; McAuliffe, KJ; Franz, KJ, Fluconazole analogues with metal-binding motifs impact metal-dependent processes and demonstrate antifungal activity in Candida albicans., Journal of biological inorganic chemistry : JBIC : a publication of the Society of Biological Inorganic Chemistry, vol 25 no. 5 (2020), pp. 729-745 [10.1007/s00775-020-01796-x] [abs].
  • Jackson, AC; Zaengle-Barone, JM; Puccio, EA; Franz, KJ, A Cephalosporin Prochelator Inhibits New Delhi Metallo-β-lactamase 1 without Removing Zinc., ACS infectious diseases, vol 6 no. 5 (2020), pp. 1264-1272 [10.1021/acsinfecdis.0c00083] [abs].
  • Gallo, AD; Franz, KJ, Grab 'n Go: Siderophore-Binding Proteins Provide Pathogens a Quick Fix to Satisfy Their Hunger for Iron., ACS central science, vol 6 no. 4 (2020), pp. 456-458 [10.1021/acscentsci.0c00179] [abs].
  • Garcia-Santamarina, S; Probst, C; Festa, RA; Ding, C; Smith, AD; Conklin, SE; Brander, S; Kinch, LN; Grishin, NV; Franz, KJ; Riggs-Gelasco, P; Lo Leggio, L; Johansen, KS; Thiele, DJ, A lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase-like protein functions in fungal copper import and meningitis., Nature chemical biology, vol 16 no. 3 (2020), pp. 337-344 [10.1038/s41589-019-0437-9] [abs].