Donald M. Kurtz Jr.
Distinguished Research Professor 2001
Donald M. Kurtz, Jr., Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, examines the structure and function of non-heme iron proteins; these are proteins that act as oxygen carriers, atom catalysts, and iron transporters. Specifically he studies a variety of non-heme proteins from invertebrates and bacteria and is considered to be the world’s foremost authority on hemerythrin, a non-heme iron oxygen-carrying progestin found in some marine invertebrate. His research on these enzymes takes an interdisciplinary approach that includes synthetic inorganic modeling of the active sites, advanced spectroscopic techniques, molecular biology and microbiology. Dr. Kurtz findings on the mechanisms by which these proteins operate has applications in agriculture, medicine, and the environment. He has developed techniques to clone several non-heme iron proteins in order to conduct detailed studies of their molecular structures and chemical mechanisms for biotechnological applications.