Frank V. Bright grew up near San Diego, California and earned a BS degree in chemistry from the University of Redlands in 1982. As an undergraduate, Frank worked with Professor Julian L. Roberts investigating the reactivity of DDT with superoxide. In 1985, Frank completed his PhD at Oklahoma State University under the direction of Professor Linda B. McGown. His PhD thesis focused on the development of phase-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy for multi-component analysis. Frank studied with Professor Gary M. Hieftje at Indiana University (1985–1987) as a postdoctoral fellow. The work from Indiana focused largely on developing time-resolved fluorescence tools and fiber-optic-based sensors for chemical analysis. Frank joined the University at Buffalo Department of Chemistry in 1987 as an Assistant Professor. He quickly rose through the ranks, and was named the A. Conger Goodyear Chair, Henry M. Woodburn Professor of Chemistry, and SUNY & UB Distinguished Professor. Frank served as UB Department of Chemistry Chair from 2006 to 2009, and helped to recruit a number of young faculty members to UB. Frank retired from UB in 2020 after an exciting 33 year career.
Frank authored/coauthored more than 300 peer-reviewed publications and was awarded 18 patents in his prolific career. The research in the Bright group focused on quantifying key molecular-level interactions and exploiting this information to develop new and improved analytical methods.
Frank’s research group made significant contributions to the fields of biomolecule dynamics within restricted space, hybrid sol–gel-derived xerogels as chemical sensor platforms, tunable, biodegradable constructs to augment wound repair, supercritical fluid science and technology, multi-photon excitation strategies in chemical analysis, and laser-based chemical instrumentation. This research enjoyed generous support from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Office of Naval Research, the National Institutes of Health, and private industry.
Frank served on the editorial boards of Analytical Chemistry, Applied Spectroscopy, Analytica Chimica Acta, and Journal of Fluorescence. His contributions have been recognized by a number of awards and honors, including 3M Non-Tenured Faculty award (1988-91), Buck-Whitney Medal (1999), SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (2000), Applied Spectroscopy Gold Medal (2003), Akron Award (2003), A.A. Benedetti-Pichler Microchemistry Award (2005), and the Jacob F. Schoellkopf Medal (2007), Society for Applied Spectroscopy Fellow (2010), Royal Society of Chemistry Fellow (2014), American Chemical Society Award in Spectrochemical Analysis (2015), Edward W. Morley Medal from the American Chemical Society Cleveland Section (2017), and Oklahoma State University Distinguished Alumni Award (2019).
Frank’s experimental spectroscopy laboratories served as a diverse training ground for dozens of outstanding PhD and MA graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting scholars plus scores of talented undergraduate research students. Frank loved igniting fire in young researchers, and his former mentees have advanced to exciting careers as independent scientists and researchers.
We thank Prof. Bright for his myriad contributions to UB and our department, and we wish him all the best in retirement.