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Home » Discover Rackham » Student Spotlight: Frank Kwarcinski

Frank’s research involves using small molecule compounds to answer essential questions about cell growth and proliferation. More specifically, he studies the development of kinase inhibitors as both a potential cancer therapeutic and a probe to better describe phospho-signaling pathways. The goal is to characterize the interactions small molecules make with their target – research that will help elucidate the relationship between kinase structure and function, while providing useful cellular knowledge. “I want to help find the root of the problem, get to the underlying issue,” he says.

He is in the Chemistry Biology Interface Program (CBI), a unique multidisciplinary Ph.D. training program that focuses on the fundamental underlying chemical principles that govern all biological processes. “I’ve enjoyed the camaraderie in the program and opportunity to get to know other participants and their research outside the lab or classroom. There is so much opportunity at U-M for interdisciplinary collaboration,” he mentions when discussing his research, part of which involves lab work with the Life Sciences Institute at the Center for Structural Biology.

“I came to U-M because it is a top 5 Medicinal Chemistry program. It’s a good place to be. The core work is demanding and the faculty provides opportunities to gain subject knowledge that you can’t find elsewhere. I’m also a huge college basketball fan and this BigTen season has been fun to watch. As a Michigan State University graduate, I’ll always be rooting for State, but the U-M team has been getting more exciting over the past few seasons.”

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