Get to Know NACB Mentor Dr. Elizabeth Frank
Contributed by Joshua Bornhorst
Joshua Bornhorst, PhD, DABCC, FACB
Elizabeth Frank, PhD, DABCC, FACB
A mentor who has influenced my career is Dr. Elizabeth Frank who is an associate professor of pathology at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She was an important figure for me in the beginnings of my academic career which has resulted in me being an assistant professor of pathology of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Dr. Frank has served as a clinical chemistry fellowship director for the University of Utah/ARUP Laboratories ComACC-accredited program and is involved in clinical, educational, and research activities. Additionally, she has played a prominent role in the activities of several national organizations including the NACB.
Although I didn’t personally know Dr. Frank prior to my own clinical chemistry fellowship at the University of Utah her background is eerily similar to my own. We both attended small liberal arts colleges, received doctoral degrees from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Colorado-Boulder, and completed our clinical chemistry fellowship training at the University of Utah/ARUP Laboratories.
As director of the clinical chemistry program, Dr Frank has directly influenced a number of fellows over the years. She plays an active role in the logistics involved in attracting and supporting new chemistry fellows and insuring that they stay “on track” during their fellowship process. She has led by example with her attention to organizational and time-management skills. Furthermore she has directed an instrumentation graduate course and mentors fellows and residents on topics related to her clinical and research interests. She also plays a vital role in helping prepare fellows for board certification. In all, her example has helped me to develop a chemistry training program for AP/CP pathology residents at the University of Arkansas.
Dr. Frank is the medical director of the Analytic Biochemistry Laboratory at ARUP and also laboratory director of several smaller community laboratories. This gives her exposure to basic clinical chemistry as well as more esoteric topics such as porphyrin analysis. Her attention to detail is well known and has resulted in her overseeing well-managed laboratory sections. This example has been important to me as I have assumed direction over several laboratory sections at the University of Arkansas.
Dr. Frank has maintained a research program and has worked with a number of other fellows and residents. Some of her interests include the analysis of small biological molecules of clinical importance by HPLC and establishment of reference intervals. As ARUP is a large organization, I did not collaborate directly with Dr. Frank on research projects during my time there. However she did monitor the progress of all fellows and actively participated in critiquing and improving presentations and manuscripts. I do know that she helped me by emphasizing the use of correct clinical terminology. This has proved to be a beneficial habit as I have expanded my research efforts into collaborations with clinicians within several different areas including alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency analysis and assay development.
Perhaps her most valuable contribution has been her involvement in national organizations. Dr. Frank is active in the AACC Rocky Mountain section and participates in the Student Research Awards contests at the Annual Meeting. She has served the NACB as a member and chair of the Awards Committee and as a member of the Distinguished Abstracts Review Committee. She is a board member of the American Board of Clinical Chemistry (ABCC) and chair of Program Evaluations for the Commission on Accreditation in Clinical Chemistry (ComACC). This involvement and the personal connections that she has developed provide opportunities to promote the careers of the Chemistry fellows and Pathology residents in training at the University of Utah.