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Faculty and Staff

Bob Franks Tapped to Lead Applied Ecology

Plant and Microbial Biology's Bob Franks has been named interim department head of Applied Ecology.

Image of person in the Phytotron, a controlled environment facility
Robert G. Franks

Bob Franks, professor and department head for Plant and Microbial Biology (PMB), will temporarily lead the Department of Applied Ecology as the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and the department search for its new department head.

“We greatly appreciate Bob stepping in as interim department head of Applied Ecology while continuing as department head of Plant and Microbial Biology,” said John Dole, interim dean of  CALS. “He has a wealth of experience, both as a faculty member and as an administrator, that will serve applied ecology well.”

Franks joined NC State’s faculty in 2004. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Tufts University and his Ph.D. in neurosciences at the University of California, Los Angeles. He did postdoctoral research at the University of Maryland, College Park, and at the University of California, Berkeley.

In 2018, Franks was named head of NC State’s Department of Plant and Microbial Biology. Prior to becoming the department head, he taught developmental biology. His research interest is in the area of molecular genetics of flower and seed development. Franks and other researchers are currently working to better understand the post-fertilization mechanisms of reproductive isolation during seed development in a group of wild monkey flowers in the genus Mimulus

Franks said he is honored to take on this temporary leadership role.

“The Department of Applied Ecology is a collaborative and enthusiastic group of individuals who are making important contributions in the areas of teaching, research and extension. I look forward to serving as the interim head of the Department of Applied Ecology for the next several months while a search for a permanent head of department takes place.” 

Dole wanted to thank Greg Cope for helping in the search for Applied Ecology’s department head.