Paul W Franks

Paul W Franks

Professor and Deputy Director of Lund University Diabetes Center in Sweden, Head of Genetic & Molecular Epidemiology Unit

I trained at the University of Cambridge in the UK and the Diabetes Epidemiology and Clinical Research Branch of National Institutes of Health in the US. For the past 15 years my research has focused on the interplay of genetic variation, pharmacotherapy and lifestyle in type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (summarized in: Franks & McCarthy, Science, 354(6308):69. 2016). I am a professor and Deputy Director of Lund University Diabetes Center in Sweden, where I also head the Genetic & Molecular Epidemiology Unit. I am also an adjunct professor at Harvard University, a visiting professor at Oxford University, and the Principal Investigator of a number of national and international collaborative research projects funded by the European Union, NIH, and the Swedish Research Council etc. In 2015 I was awarded two large excellence awards from the Swedish Research Council and the European Research Council (totalling ~4m EUR) that support the core elements of my research programme focused on gene-lifestyle interactions and precision medicine.

Key features of my international research network include two EU Innovative Medicines Initiative projects called DIRECT and RHAPSODY (combined budget of 61m EUR). Both projects focus on precision medicine in type 2 diabetes; I am a member of the management boards and lead work packages within these studies. From 2012-2016 I was a Principal Investigator on an NIH randomized controlled trial focused on gestational weight gain and foetal programming. My paedagogic leadership has invovled establishing and directing the BLUE ScY training program, which facilitates doctoral training in genetic epidemiology, bioinformatics and biostatistics between Lund and Harvard Universities. I have authored ~300 papers, delivered ~125 invited lectures, and I have an H-index of 51 according to Web of Science (Google Scholar H-index = 59).

Lifestyle and prevention in the context of   Precision Medicine – how do we help prevent people from becoming patients

  • Lifestyle interventions generally improve cardiometabolic health, but one size does not fit all
  • The between-person variability in response to lifestyle interventions has multiple possible explanations, one of which is that individual biological factors modify the effects of such interventions
  • Characterising patients’ biological profiles and linking these to response phenotypes might lead to the optimization of lifestyle interventions