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Prof Frank Vollmer

Professor, FInstP


Telephone: 01392 724771

Extension: (Streatham) 4771

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Professor in BiophysicsMolecular & Quantum Sensors and Systems

Living Systems Institute,

Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Exeter

Frank Vollmer is Professor in Biophysics at the University of Exeter, UK. He obtained his PhD in `Physics & Biology' from the Rockefeller University in NYC, USA, in 2004. He was Rowland Fellow at Harvard University from 2004 to 2009, Scholar-in-Residence at the Wyss Institute at Harvard in 2010, Group Leader (untenured Associate Professor) at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light in Germany from 2011-2016 and Instructor in Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School where he directed a satellite laboratory from 2011-2016. Since 2016 he is Professor in Biophysics at the School of Physics, University of Exeter, UK. He received the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award in 2017 and in 2021 the Rosalind Franklin Medal and Prize from the Institute of Physics (IoP). Since 2021 he is Fellow of the IoP.

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2017- 2020    Associate Director (International and Development), Living Systems Institute, Exeter

2016-             Professor, University of Exeter, UK

2010-­2016      Associate Professor/Group Leader (W2), Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Germany

2011-­2016      Instructor in Medicine, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, USA

2013--2016     Privatdozent (Lecturer), Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany

2009-­2010      Scholar-in-Residence, Wyss Institute, Harvard University, Boston, USA

2004-­2009      Fellow, Rowland Institute at Harvard University, Boston, USA


2013                Venia Legendi (Habilitation) in Physics, Friedrich-Alexander University
2004                PhD, Physics & Biology, Rockefeller University
                         New York City, USA
1998                MSc, Biophysical Chemistry, Leibnitz University
                         Hannover, Germany
1995                BSc, Biochemistry, University of Bayreuth

Honors and Awards

2021                Fellow Institute of Physics, FInstP, IoP

2021                Rosalind Franklin Medal and Prize, IoP

2018                EPSRC Established Career Fellow

2017                Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award

2011                R01 Grant Award, National Institutes of Health, NIGMS, USA

2010                Max Planck Research Group Award (MPRG)

2004                Rowland Fellowship, Harvard University (

2000                PhD Fellowship, Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds (


Professional Activities and Work Experience

2011--2017      Associate Editor, Optics Express

2013--2014      Organizer “Micro-cavity Biosensing” Conference in Bad Honnef, Germany

2005--2009      Micro- & Nanofabrication, Center for Nanoscale Systems, Harvard, USA

1992--1993      Medical-Technical Assistant, Katharinen-Hospital Suttgart, Germany


Referee (selected): Science, Nature Photonics, Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Biotechnology, Nature Materials, Physical Review Letters, Optics Letters, Applied Physics Letters, ACS Nano, Biophysical Journal, Lab on a Chip, Optics Express, Humboldt, DFG, ERC, ISERD


Recent Grant Funding


Research Current Awards

Awarded Date

Project Description

Total Award Value

19 Jan 2021

CoA Physics of Life Molecular Mechanics of Enzymes


14 Oct 2020

EPSRC Core Equipment Award 2020 - Sub Award - Exeter Biomaterials Optical Characterisation Suite


9 Oct 2020

EPSRC - Exeter Biomaterials Optical Characterisation Suite - EBOC  Core Equipment Award 2020/21 - Additional Award


8 Oct 2020

EPSRC - Exeter Biomaterials Optical Characterisation Suite - EBOC  Core Equipment Award 2020/21


24 Jul 2020



15 Apr 2019

Physics of Life - Mechanobiology of Enzymes


9 Sep 2018

A Optical Single Molecule Scanner of Protein Motion


24 Nov 2016

Exploring Nanoscale Dynamics Of Proteins


16 Nov 2016

ULTRACHIRAL / H2020 / FET open 2016 / Vollmer




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