Faculty and Research

personnel profile

Curtis W. Frank

Title:Professor; W.M. Keck, Sr. Professor of Chemical Engineering
Affiliation(s):Senior Associate Dean, Faculty Affairs
Location:Stauffer III, Room 105
Mail Code:5025
E-mail: curt.frank@stanford.edu
Administrator: Jeannie A. Lewandowski

Research Statement

Structure and Dynamics of Polymers in Constrained Geometry
The properties of ultrathin polymer films are often different from their bulk counterparts. We use spin casting, Langmuir-Blodgett deposition, and surface grafting to fabricate ultrathin films in the range of 100 to 1000 Angstroms thick. Macromolecular amphiphiles are examined at the air-water interface by surface pressure, Brewster angle microscopy, and interfacial shear measurements and on solid substrates by atomic force microscopy, FTIR, and ellipsometry. A vapor-deposition-polymerization process has been developed for covalent grafting of poly(amino acids) from solid substrates. FTIR measurements permit study of secondary structures (right and left-handed alpha helices, parallel and anti-parallel beta sheets) as a function of temperature and environment.

Interface Science of Biomolecular Materials
The cell membrane is a wonderfully complex structure having a phospholipids matrix with a wide variety of associated and integral membrane proteins. We are exploring highly simplified analogues of the cell membrane for possible applications in bioanalytical devices. Vesicles or liposomes of phospholipids are prepared by sonication or membrane extrusion and characterized by dynamic light scattering. The kinetics of adsorption of these vesicles on a solid substrate followed by fusion to form a continuous supported bilayer is followed by the quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation. This instrument allows determination of both the mass deposition as well as the viscoelastic coupling of the adsorbed film with the surrounding fluid. Fluorescence recovery after pattern photobleaching is used to monitor the lateral diffusivity of labeled lipids.

Polymer Development of an Artificial Cornea Based on Polymer Hydrogels
A broadly interdisciplinary collaboration has been established with the Department of Ophthalmology in the Stanford School of Medicine. We have designed and synthesized a fully interpenetrating network of two different hydrogel materials that have properties consistent with application as a substitute for the human cornea: high water swellability up to 85%,tensile strength comparable to the cornea, high glucose permeability comparable to the cornea, and sufficient tear strength to permit suturing. We have developed a technique for surface modification with adhesion peptides that allows binding of collagen and subsequent growth of epithelial cells. Broad questions on the relationships among molecular structure, processing protocol, and biomedical device application are being pursued.

To view a list of his Professorships, see his department page.

PhD 1972 University of Illinois
Publication TitleAuthor(s)/Speaker(s)Open Document
Fluid supported lipid bilayers containing monosialoganglioside GM1: A QCM-D and FRAP study Weng, Kevin C.; Kanter, Jennifer L.; Robinson, William H....
Surface reorganization of an amphiphilic block copolymer film studied by NEXAFS spectroscopy Theato, P; Brehmer, M; Conrad, L...
Binding Dynamics of Hepatitis C. Virus NS5A Amphipathic Peptide to Cell and Model Membranes N.J. Cho; K.H. Cheong; C.W. Frank...
Glyco-acrylate Copolymers for Bilayer Tethering on Benzophenone-modified Substrates L.Y. Hwang; H. Goetz; C.J. Hawker...
Quantitative Analysis of Tethered Vesicle Assemblies by Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation Monitoring: Binding Dynamics and Bound Water Content A.R. Patel; C.W. Frank
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Academic Honors & Awards

  • Fellow, American Physical Society.
  • C. M. A. Stine Award, American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
  • Principal Investigator, National Science Foundation Materials
  • Research Science and Engineering Center on Polymer Interfaces and Macromolecular Assemblies (CPIMA)
  • Polymer Physics, Molecular Assemblies, and Soft Material Interfaces

Ph.D. Students—Undergraduate Institutions

  • Shira Mandel—Union College
  • Rachel Parke-Houben—Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Kristin Engberg--University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Meredith Wisemen--California Institute of Technology
  • Saharnaz Bigdeli--Tehran University
  • Zach Wright--Case Western Reserve University
  • Amy Tsui--Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  • Elyse Coletta--Carnegie Mellon University
  • Courtney Fox--North Carolina State University
  • Steve He--California Institute of Technology
  • Postdoctoral Fellows—Doctoral Institutions

  • Jung Min Lee, Ph.D.--Yonsei University