SOMERS — The University of Wisconsin System on Tuesday announced three recipients of the 2021 Regent Scholar Awards, including UW-Parkside Associate Professor and Department of Chemistry Co-Chair Francis “Frannie” Mann.
Mann joins colleagues Haijian Sun from UW-Whitewater and Ava Udvadia from UW-Milwaukee as this year’s Regent Scholar recipients. They are scheduled to be honored at Thursday’s UW System Board of Regents meeting via videoconference.
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The awards recognize UW System faculty for their extraordinary efforts in support of undergraduate research, innovation, and entrepreneurship, according to a Parkside news release.
“This annual program provides prestigious, one-time grants to individual faculty and campus programs that undertake undergraduate research projects having the potential to foster innovation, entrepreneurship, and talent development,” said UW System President Tommy Thompson.
Mann’s areas of expertise include, biochemistry analytical chemistry and natural products biosynthesis. In accepting her 2021 UW System Regent Scholar Award, Mann talked about her motivations for her work.
“My major focus is always first and foremost to provide students with real, meaningful research experiences in the lab. My students are actively involved in development of the research plan, performing the experiments, assembling, and interpreting the data, and presenting the outcomes,” she said.
Her current research focuses on harnessing the power of microbial secondary metabolism. An overview of her work can be seen on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enR92SyUBy4
“My lab is interested in the potential for microbes — like bacteria and fungi — to synthesize industrially and medicinally important compounds,” said Mann. “We recently discovered that one specific bacteria synthesizes a compound that appears to kill other bacteria. This project aims to understand how this compound achieves this bactericidal activity and to evaluate it for future use as an antibiotic.”
UW-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford said Mann represents “the very best of what Parkside has to offer — creative, talented and hard-working faculty doing innovative research to help improve our quality of life and provide a better future for all.”
In December, Mann was also honored by WiSys, a non-profit supporting organization of the UW System, serving as the dedicated technology transfer office for 11 universities. WiSys named Mann a 2020 Carl E. Gulbrandsen Innovator of the Year, an award presented to a UW System faculty, staff member or student making exemplary contributions as an innovator. The award was created to honor Gulbrandsen, former managing director of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation who supported WiSys throughout his 16-year tenure.