James Frank completed his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where he worked in the lab of Prof. Stephen G. Withers. There, he developed fluorescent glycosides for the detection of glycosidases in high-throughput screens. Frank then travelled overseas for an industry job at Corden Pharma LLC near Basel, Switzerland, where he developed a large-scale synthesis of a complex glycolipid pharmaceutical. He obtained his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany in the lab of Prof. Dirk Trauner, where his research focused on the synthesis/evaluation of photo-switchable lipids. In 2017, Frank joined the bioelectronics group of Prof. Polina Anikeeva at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he engineered fiber-based implants to apply these photochemical probes to control behavior in freely moving rodents. He joined the Vollum Institute in 2018 as a Vollum Fellow and Research Assistant Professor, where his research interests focus on the roles of lipids on cell physiology. In 2021, Frank was named Assistant Professor in OHSU’s Department of Chemical Physiology & Biochemistry, with a joint appointment in the Vollum.

James in his natural habitat: Chasing steelhead on the Oregon Coast.

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