Academic Title

Interim Associate Dean & Professor

Research Interests
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemical Education
  • Organic Chemistry
Research Summary

I am an organic chemist by training, with an emphasis in medicinal chemistry and extensive knowledge of biochemistry. The majority of my research is in the areas of medicinal chemistry and chemical education. The medicinal chemistry aspect of my work focuses on neglected diseases such as tuberculosis and histoplasmosis. My group uses a combination of organic synthesis, biochemistry and computational chemistry to identify novel therapeutics for these diseases. In the area of chemical education I have worked to identify engaging pedagogical methods in chemistry and biochemistry. Recently, I have been researching how technology can be used to enhance the educator’s pedagogy. In particular, I have been focusing on the use of iBooks and virtual reality in the classroom. Undergraduate student researchers have played an integral role in all of theses areas of research, with a number of their contributions being acknowledged as co-authors on peer-reviewed publications and presentations.

  • Ph.D.Chemistry, University of California, Davis
  • B.S.Chemistry, Beloit College
Areas of Expertise
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemical Education
  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
Recent Publications

Sarina E, Mercado B, Franco J, Thompson CJ, Easterling M, Olmstead M, Balch A. “2-Aminoethanol Extraction as a Method for Purifying Sc3 N@C80 and for Differentiating Classes of Endohedral Fullerenes on the Basis of Reactivity.” Chemistry 21: 17035-43, 2015. PMID 26437717 DOI: 10.1002/chem.201502415.

Franco J, “Purifying Compounds by Recrystallization.” Accepted JOVE Sci. Ed. Series 2015.

Franco J, “Perform Column Chromatography.” Accepted JOVE Sci. Ed. Series 2015.

Franco J, “Growing Crystals for X-ray Diffraction Analysis.” Accepted JOVE Sci. Ed. Series Accepted 2015.

Daniels D., Berkes C., Nekoie, A., Franco J*, “Fighting Tuberculosis in an Undergraduate Laboratory: Synthesizing, Evaluating and Analyzing Inhibitors,” J. Chem. Educ., 2015, 92 (5), pp 928–931, DOI: 10.1021/ed400891k.

Wilsey C., Gurka J., Toth D., Franco J*, “A Large-Scale Virtual Screen of DprE1,” Comp. Bio. Chem., Volume 47, December 2013, Pages 121-125, ISSN 1476-9271.

Franco J*., Blackie, M., Toth, D., Smith, P., Capuano, J., Fastnacht, K., Berkes, C., “A Structural Comparative Approach to Identifying Novel Antimalarial Compounds,” Comp. Bio. Chem Volume 45, August 2013, Pages 42-47, ISSN 1476-927.

Toth D., Franco J., and Berkes, C.; “Attacking HIV, Tuberculosis and Histoplasmosis With XSEDE Resources,” Proceedings of the Conference on Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment: Gateway to Discovery, July 2013.

Pinault L, Han JS, Kang CM, Franco J, Ronning D*, “Zarfirlukast Inhibits Complexation of Lsr2 with DNA and Growth of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis,” Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2013 May;57(5):2134-40. doi: 10.1128/AAC.02407-12. Epub 2013 Feb 2.

Toth, D* and Franco, J; Using Supercomputing to Conduct Virtual Screen as Part of the Drug Discovery Process in a Medicinal Chemistry Course,” J. Comp. Sci. Ed 2012, 3 (2) pp 18-25.

Franco, J;* “Online Gaming for Understanding Folding, Interactions and Structure”; J. Chem. Educ., 2012, 89 (12), pp 1543–1546 doi.org/10.1021/ed200803e.

Franco, J., Hammons, J., Olmstead, M*. Rios, D.; “New Tetraazaannulene Host for Fullerenes”; Inorg. Chem. 2010, 49, 5120-5125.

Franco, J., Ell, J., Hilton, A., Hammons, J., Olmstead, M*., “C60Br8 and C60(NO2)6 as Selective Tools in Organic Synthesis”; Fullerenes, Nanotubes and Carbon Nanostructures, 2009, 17, 349-360.

Franco, J., Hammons, J., Olmstead, M*., “Bis[1-(1-adamantyliminomethyl)-2-naphtholato-κ2N,O]cobalt(II) Acta Crys.,” Section E: Structure Reports Online 2008, E64(10).

Franco, J., Hammons, J., Olmstead, M*.; “Tetra- 2-acetato- 8O:O’-bis{[1-(1-adamantyliminiomethyl)-2-naphtholato- O]rhodium(II)}”; Acta Cryst. 2007, E63, m2606-m2607.