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Born in Germany, Katharina M. Fromm was raised in France, Germany and USA. She studied Studies of Chemistry at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany, and the E.H.I.C.S. (Ecole des Hautes Etudes des Industries Chimiques de Strasbourg; now ECPM) in Strasbourg, France. She received her PhD from the University of Karlsruhe (Germany) with Prof. Evamarie Hey-Hawkins (now Uni Leipzig) on organometallic compounds with metal-phosphor double bonds (Mo, Nb, Ta) and did postdocs with Prof. J. Strähle (University of Tübingen, Germany), Prof. J.-M. Lehn (University Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France), and Profs. D. Fenske and R. Ahlrichs (Karlsruhe, Germany). After her habilitation in the group of Prof. A. F. Williams (University of Geneva, Switzerland) in 2002, she obtained an Emmy-Noether-Programm II by the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft), with which she established a research group in Karlsruhe, Germany. Soon after, she accepted a Research Professorship of the SNSF (Swiss National Science Foundation) at the University of Basel, Switzerland. In October 2006, she succeeded to Alexander von Zelewsky as Full Professor (Chair of Inorganic Chemistry) at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.
Our research, based on coordination compounds and nanomaterials, covers several aspects. For one, we are interested in the bioinorganic chemistry of silver, silver compounds and nanoparticles. For example, we study their antimicrobial effect with the aim to use silver and its compounds as coatings for implants. In parallel, we investigate resistance mechanisms of bacteria against silver at the molecular level, as well as the biomineralization of silver from bacteria. Another research axis is around new compounds and nanomaterials for batteries. For example, we study the improved battery performances using nano-LiCoO2 and nano-LiMnPO4 as active cathode materials. We also developed new crown-ether based ionic liquids as well-performing electrolytes. Within the NCCR “Bioinspired Materials”, we investigate polymers with new mechanophores, such as ferrocene, as well as nanorattle systems, both for the triggered release of metal ions.
We further maintain collaborations with different groups around the world, e.g. on switchable tautomers (Prof. Liudmil Antonov, Sofia, Bulgaria) or the determination of single crystal structures
Formation of silver nanoparticles by electron transfer in peptides and c-cytochromes I. Vasylevskyi, S. Kracht, P. Corcosa, K. M. Fromm, B. Giese, M. Füeg, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017, 56, 5926 –5930.