Frank E. Young, MD, PhD Biography

ACT recognizes Frank E. Young, MD, PhD as the recipient of the 2015 Distinguished Scientist Award.

Dr. Frank Young is a venture partner in Apple Tree Partners, executive VP for Clinical and Regulatory Affairs, Braeburn Pharmaceuticals Inc., and adjunct partner of Essex Woodlands.

He attended Union College, graduated from the SUNY Upstate Medical University with an MD cum laude, and earned a PhD from Case Western Reserve University. His residency in pathology was at the Institute of Pathology at University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio. After numerous academic appointments, he served as chairman of the Department of Microbiology and professor of microbiology at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. Subsequently, he became dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry and vice president for Health Affairs of the University of Rochester. Dr. Young joined the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) as Rear Admiral in 1984 in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. He served as commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration 1984–1989; deputy assistant secretary for Health/Science and Environment 1989–1993, where he had policy oversight for department-wide science and environmental programs; and director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness and director of the National Disaster Medical System 1993–1996, where he was responsible for response and recovery efforts from disasters.

Dr. Young held a number of concurrent government positions. In 1986 he was nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate as the US government’s representative to the Executive Committee of the World Health Organization. In 1990, Dr. Young was appointed as a commissioner on the World Health Organization’s Commission on Health and Environment and was technical advisor to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. As head of the State Department Delegation to the ad hoc Biotechnology Working Group of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, France, he contributed to the development of international agreements in biotechnology. He also represented DHHS on the Council of Deputies of the National Security Council.

Dr. Young’s areas of research are biotechnology and pathology. He has contributed over 200 scientific publications to this field, including development of some of the earliest cloning enzymes. Dr. Young has been involved in the policy decisions concerning biotechnology from 1974 to 1993. He was a member of the Asilomar Conference on recombinant DNA and a charter member of the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee of the Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Young’s awards include membership in the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, honorary degrees from Christian and secular colleges and universities, Secretary’s Special Citation, DHHS (presented by Secretary Bowen and by Secretary Sullivan), the Inspector General’s Award for Outstanding Integrity, PHS Surgeon General’s Exemplary Service Medal, and the 2006 Distinguished Alumnus Award from SUNY Upstate Medical University.

Dr. Young is an ordained Presbyterian minister and served as vice president for Reformed Theological Seminary Metro Washington. His ministry focuses on recovery from grief as discussed in his book, Good Grief: Loves, Final Gift, (Eleuthera Publications, 2011). He and his deceased wife of 51 years, Leanne, have 5 children, 16 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren.