Katherine J. Franz


Alexander F. Hehmeyer Professor 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

  • Alexander F. Hehmeyer Professor of Chemistry
  • Chair of the Department of Chemistry
  • Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
  • Professor in the Department of Chemistry

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 2103 French Science Center, 124 Science Drive, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (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

  • Sloan Research Fellowship-Chemistry. Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. 2008
  • Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program. National Science Foundation. 2005

Courses Taught

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

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Franz, KJ; Metzler-Nolte, N, Introduction: Metals in Medicine, Chemical Reviews, vol 119 no. 2 (2019), pp. 727-729 [10.1021/acs.chemrev.8b00685] [abs].
  • Franz, KJ, Metallomics: Emerging Investigators 2019., Metallomics : Integrated Biometal Science, vol 11 no. 1 (2019), pp. 9-14 [10.1039/c8mt90047g] [abs].
  • Wang, Q; Franz, KJ, Modifying aroylhydrazone prochelators for hydrolytic stability and improved cytoprotection against oxidative stress., Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, vol 26 no. 22 (2018), pp. 5962-5972 [10.1016/j.bmc.2018.11.004] [abs].
  • Bakthavatsalam, S; Sleeper, ML; Dharani, A; George, DJ; Zhang, T; Franz, KJ, Leveraging γ-Glutamyl Transferase To Direct Cytotoxicity of Copper Dithiocarbamates against Prostate Cancer Cells., Angewandte Chemie International Edition, vol 57 no. 39 (2018), pp. 12780-12784 [10.1002/anie.201807582] [abs].
  • Zaengle-Barone, JM; Jackson, AC; Besse, DM; Becken, B; Arshad, M; Seed, PC; Franz, KJ, Copper Influences the Antibacterial Outcomes of a β-Lactamase-Activated Prochelator against Drug-Resistant Bacteria., Acs Infectious Diseases (2018) [10.1021/acsinfecdis.8b00037] [abs].