Prof Uri Frank is a developmental biologist. His research covers such topics as embryonic axis formation, stem cell fate and regeneration.
Prof. Frank's team uses an invertebrate model, the cnidarian Hydractinia echinata – a relative of jellyfish, sea anemones and corals, to address fundamental questions in the above areas. The aim of this research is to contribute to the understanding of how cells made decisions in normal development and regeneration. The strength of Hydractinia as a model organism is the possibility it offers to conduct in vivo experiments at single cell resolution, which are difficult or impossible to conduct using more traditional animal models.
Developmental biology deals not only the with events occurring between fertilization and sexual maturity, but also with aging and abnormal growth which underlie many human diseases. In this context, research done on simple model animals, bypassing technical and ethical issues, may contribute to the understanding of cellular processes at the base of genetic and acquired diseases.
Prof. Frank has made many discoveries on stem cell behaviour during normal development and regeneration and has published in high profile journals. Prof. Frank has been Science Foundation Ireland Principal Investigator since 2007. His research has also been funded by EU, Enterprise Ireland, and by industry collaborators.
Prof. Frank has published over 40 peer-reviewed papers in journals such as eLife, Development and Developmental Biology, and presented in some 40 international conferences.
Prof. Frank has been reviewer for some 30 international peer reviewed journals and 10 funding agencies. His work has been featured in the BBC, RTE, regional radio stations and social media.
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