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Christine K. Payne


Yoh Family Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Christine Payne is the Yoh Family Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University. Her research focuses on understanding how cells interact with nanomaterials. This includes fundamental questions of nanoparticle transport within cells, as well as applied research to understand the pulmonary response to the inhalation of nanoparticles in a manufacturing setting. Her team uses an interdisciplinary approach that includes elements of materials science, chemistry, biophysics, and lab automation. She teaches classes on the quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics of materials including a class on the “Materials Science of Science Fiction.” She earned a S.B. in Chemistry from the University of Chicago (1998) and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley (2003). Prof. Payne spent 2003-2006 as an NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University. Prof. Payne has received many honors including an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (2009) and a DARPA Young Faculty Award (2011). She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.  

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Yoh Family Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
  • Professor in the Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
  • Associate Professor of Chemistry

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 534 Research Dr. #311, Wilkinson, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (919) 681-2096
  • Email Address:
  • Websites:


  • Ph.D. University of California - Berkeley, 2003

Research Interests

Molecular mechanisms by which cells interact with nanomaterials with applications in nanomedicine and environmental exposure

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Jefferson Science Fellows Program - Science, Technology, Engineering and Medical Science. National Academies of Science, Engineering & Medicine. 2023
  • Fellow. Royal Society of Chemistry. 2020

Courses Taught

  • EGR 393: Research Projects in Engineering
  • ME 391: Undergraduate Projects in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 412: Modern Materials
  • ME 490: Special Topics in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 555: Advanced Topics in Mechanical Engineering

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Han, X; Payne, CK, Gold Ions Hyperpolarize Bacteria, Bioelectricity, vol 5 no. 2 (2023), pp. 109-115 [10.1089/bioe.2023.0008] [abs].
  • Rayens, NT; Cook, KJ; McKinley, SA; Payne, CK, Palmitate-mediated disruption of the endoplasmic reticulum decreases intracellular vesicle motility., Biophysical Journal, vol 122 no. 7 (2023), pp. 1355-1363 [10.1016/j.bpj.2023.03.001] [abs].
  • Poulsen, KM; Albright, MC; Niemuth, NJ; Tighe, RM; Payne, CK, Interaction of TiO2 nanoparticles with lung fluid proteins and the resulting macrophage inflammatory response, Environmental Science: Nano (2023) [10.1039/d3en00179b] [abs].
  • Poulsen, KM; Payne, CK, Concentration and composition of the protein corona as a function of incubation time and serum concentration: an automated approach to the protein corona., Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, vol 414 no. 24 (2022), pp. 7265-7275 [10.1007/s00216-022-04278-y] [abs].
  • Rayens, NT; Cook, KJ; McKinley, SA; Payne, CK, Transport of lysosomes decreases in the perinuclear region: Insights from changepoint analysis., Biophysical Journal, vol 121 no. 7 (2022), pp. 1205-1218 [10.1016/j.bpj.2022.02.032] [abs].

Affiliate Topics in Materials Research