The Human Subjects Research Office is pleased to announce that Dr. Colleen Frank, member of the Aging Well Lab at the Center for Vital Longevity, has been selected as the recipient of the Summer 2023 HIVE Award!

Dr. Colleen Frank holds a PhD in Psychology (Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience) from the University of Michigan and has over a decade of experience in human subjects research. She joined the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) in 2021 as a Postdoctoral Research Associate, attracted by the reputation of the Center for Vital Longevity. Dr. Frank described the Center for Vital Longevity as “a powerhouse for research on the cognitive neuroscience of aging” and shared her appreciation for Dr. Kendra Seaman and the Aging Well Lab’s likeminded dedication to basic and translational research.

When describing her work in the Aging Well Lab, Dr. Frank stated “My research focuses on how decision-making changes across the lifespan. In my current lab, we have a few projects looking at why older adults fall victim to financial fraud. We are investigating possibilities such as increased trust and changes in what information they are paying attention to and remembering.” Dr. Frank also leads multiple projects in the Aging Well Lab, including studies funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), enabling her to mentor and supervise a number of graduate and undergraduate students. Additionally, Dr. Frank spearheads the lab’s efforts to focus on community outreach in hopes of sharing knowledge and fostering a deeper relationship with the community.

Dr. Seaman, the Principal Investigator for the Aging Well Lab, praised Dr. Frank’s efforts within the lab and stated the following: “Colleen is the heart of the lab. She has worked with our lab manager to develop policies and procedures that protect the contributions of our research participants and makes sure that all members of our lab community understand their role and feel their contributions are valued.”

Looking back over her research journey, she describes one of the most important things she learned, “I had a professor in graduate school who used to tell us, ‘People are not rocks.’ And what he meant is that humans, and specifically research with humans, are noisy! It’s not always clear cut like it is with non-human research because each individual brings with them their personalities, genetics, cognitive abilities, etc.”

When looking to the future, Dr. Frank hopes to continue working in academia and become a professor. “Regardless of where [my journey leads], I hope to continue to make scientific contributions and help train the next generation of scientists.”

The Human Subjects Research Office is proud to include Dr. Colleen Frank as a member of the HIVE!