David N. Beratan

David N. Beratan

R.J. Reynolds Professor of Chemistry

Office Location: 
5311 French Science Center, Durham, NC 27708
Front Office Address: 
Box 90346, Durham, NC 27708-0346
(919) 660-1526


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.  

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., California Institute of Technology 1986

  • B.S., Duke University 1980

Selected Grants

Harnessing Small Molecules to Probe the Structure and Function of Long Noncoding RNAs awarded by National Institutes of Health (Collaborator). 2017 to 2022

Dexter Energy Transfer: Pathways, Mechanisms, and Kinetics awarded by Department of Energy (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2021

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Training Program awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2005 to 2021

Discovery and Manipulation of Biomolecular-Noble Gas Interactions awarded by Defense Threat Reduction Agency (Co-Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2021

DNA Repair under Extreme Conditions - Extended Studies awarded by Temple University (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2019

GAANN - Department of Chemistry awarded by Department of Education (Program Administrator). 2015 to 2019

Nanocrystal-Based Diodes for Solar to Electric Energy Conversion awarded by Department of Energy (Principal Investigator). 2007 to 2019

Biological Electron Transfer and Catalysis awarded by Washington State University (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2019

Blue Waters Fellowship - University of Illinois awarded by University of Illinois (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2019

NSF/DMR-BSF: Bioinspired materials for electron and proton conduction membranes awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2019


Skourtis, SS, and Beratan, DN. "Single-and Multi-Electron Transfer Processes." Electron Transfer in Chemistry. April 15, 2008. 109-125. Full Text

Michaeli, K, Beratan, DN, Waldeck, DH, and Naaman, R. "Voltage-induced long-range coherent electron transfer through organic molecules." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 116.13 (March 7, 2019): 5931-5936. Full Text

Teo, RD, Rousseau, BJG, Smithwick, ER, Di Felice, R, Beratan, DN, and Migliore, A. "Charge Transfer between [4Fe4S] Proteins and DNA Is Unidirectional: Implications for Biomolecular Signaling." Chem 5.1 (January 2019): 122-137. Full Text

Peters, JW, Beratan, DN, Bothner, B, Dyer, RB, Harwood, CS, Heiden, ZM, Hille, R, Jones, AK, King, PW, Lu, Y, Lubner, CE, Minteer, SD, Mulder, DW, Raugei, S, Schut, GJ, Seefeldt, LC, Tokmina-Lukaszewska, M, Zadvornyy, OA, Zhang, P, and Adams, MW. "A new era for electron bifurcation." Current Opinion in Chemical Biology 47 (December 2018): 32-38. (Review) Full Text

Seefeldt, LC, Peters, JW, Beratan, DN, Bothner, B, Minteer, SD, Raugei, S, and Hoffman, BM. "Control of electron transfer in nitrogenase." Current Opinion in Chemical Biology 47 (December 2018): 54-59. (Review) Full Text

Skourtis, SS, and Beratan, DN. "Editorial overview: Biological pathways for electrons, protons and photo-excitations." Current Opinion in Chemical Biology 47 (December 2018): A1-A3. Full Text

Teo, RD, Smithwick, ER, Migliore, A, and Beratan, DN. "A single AT-GC exchange can modulate charge transfer-induced p53-DNA dissociation." Chemical Communications (Cambridge, England) 55.2 (December 2018): 206-209. Full Text

Teo, RD, Terai, K, Migliore, A, and Beratan, DN. "Electron transfer characteristics of 2'-deoxy-2'-fluoro-arabinonucleic acid, a nucleic acid with enhanced chemical stability." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics : Pccp 20.41 (November 2018): 26063-26067. Full Text

Bloom, BP, Liu, R, Zhang, P, Ghosh, S, Naaman, R, Beratan, DN, and Waldeck, DH. "Directing Charge Transfer in Quantum Dot Assemblies." Accounts of Chemical Research 51.10 (October 5, 2018): 2565-2573. Full Text

Ma, Z, Antoniou, P, Zhang, P, Skourtis, SS, and Beratan, DN. "A Nonequilibrium Molecular Dynamics Study of Infrared Perturbed Electron Transfer." Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation 14.9 (September 2018): 4818-4832. Full Text

Seefeldt, LC, Hoffman, BM, Peters, JW, Raugei, S, Beratan, DN, Antony, E, and Dean, DR. "Energy Transduction in Nitrogenase." Accounts of Chemical Research 51.9 (September 2018): 2179-2186. Full Text