Lexi Frank

Lexi Frank

University of Minnesota

Ph.D. Candidate


I am a Ph.D. candidate in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota advised by Dr. Peter Larsen. I study genomics, metagenomics, and epigenetics in mammals by utilizing next generation molecular technology and classic mammalogy techniques. I am interested in how anthropogenic disturbances and human-animal interactions can affect viral metagenomic communities and produce epigenetic changes in bats and comparative genomics.

I completed my Bachelor of Science in Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity at the University of Michigan. During my time as an undergraduate, my interest in mammals grew when I worked at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology in the Mammalogy Department. I was able to explore the worldwide diversity of mammals and see all the ways that collections contribute to research today. I then went on to complete my Master of Public Health in Environmental Health Science at the University of Michigan in the School of Public Health. The concept of One Health, the interconnectedness of environmental, animal, and human health, was a central part of my work there. I collaborated on a project studying Lyme disease transmission through ticks from Peromyscus leucopus (white footed mouse) to humans and domestic dogs.

Throughout my career, I have worked in the molecular laboratory and in the field. Today, my research combines both of these aspects.  My main research is conducted in Guyana, South America, studying viral communities in bats, particularly Desmodus rotundus and Carollia spp., living in close proximity to humans to promote the shared health of humans and animals. I conduct molecular work in the field with a mobile laboratory that can be brought all over the world and deliver real-time molecular data. I hope to help make these technologies more accessible for a broader audience to use and understand. The highlight of my research is working with an amazing diversity of bats and making connections with people and other cultures through science!

Selected recent publications:

Melotto, Gloria, Megan W. Jones, Kathryn Bosley, Nicole Flack, Lexi E. Frank, Emily Jacobson, Evan J. Kipp, Sally Nelson, Mauricio Ramirez, Carrie Walls, Robert L. Koch, Amelia R.I. Lindsey, and Christopher Faulk. 2023. The genome of the soybean gall midge (Resseliella maxima). G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, 13(4). https://doi.org/10.1093/g3journal/jkad046