Developing and sustaining a successful research career requires much more than passion and good ideas. An investigator needs solid publications in the research area, collaborators with complementary expertise, access to appropriate resources, a strong understanding of the funder’s priorities and review criteria, and sufficient time to write, revise, receive feedback on, and finalize the proposal. The goal of the Scientific Editing and Research Strategizing Service is to help investigators with all of these aspects and more, ideally starting long before a funding opportunity is identified!

Email Deborah Frank, PhD, to request a consultation:


Editing services are provided free of charge to Washington University Obstetrics and Gynecology investigators, including:

  • Faculty members
  • Clinical fellows
  • Residents
  • Senior scientists
  • Post-doctoral fellows
  • Graduate students
Editing Services
  • Substantively edit grant and fellowship proposals, manuscripts, and other documents
  • Provide suggestions to improve clarity, organization, logical flow, and highlighting of significance
  • Ensure that documents meet the guidelines of journals and funding agencies.
  • Provide suggestions to improve the clarity of figures and strength of scientific arguments
  • Consult with authors on rough drafts
Research Strategizing Services
  • Discuss interests in one-on-one meeting and develop abstract for project idea
  • Help find local expertise for a project
  • Help define short-term goals to be ready to apply for external funding
  • Introduce databases, notifications of relevant opportunities, assess appropriateness given stage and timeline
  • Help develop aims responsive to funding opportunity, identify appropriate study section
  • Help find local resources (e.g., collaborators, cores, sample grants) to prepare a strong proposal
  • Help decide how to improve a grant in response to critiques
Sample projects

Example grant successes:

  • National Institutes of Health: F31, K12, T32, LRP, R21, R01 (5th, 4th, 3rd, and 2nd percentiles)
  • Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
  • American Cancer Society
  • March of Dimes
  • American Diabetes Association
  • Foundation for Women’s Cancer
  • Thrasher Foundation Early Career Award
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Several internal awards

Example publications:

  • American Journal of Public Health
  • Cancer Research
  • EMBO Molecular Medicine
  • Fertility and Sterility
  • Gynecologic Oncology
  • Infection & Immunity
  • Journal of Biological Chemistry
  • Journal of Clinical Investigation
  • Molecular Endocrinology
  • Nature Communications
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Scientific Reports
Client testimonials

What is very helpful is that you do actually think about the science in the writing, even though it is not in your exact field of expertise. It is truly scientific editing, not editing of scientific writing.
– Ian Hagemann, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor

Your editing … usually requiring more experiments or interpretation of the results, is always right on target.
– Kelle Moley, MD, Professor

I think anyone who submits a grant without your edits is short changing themselves.
– Methodius Tuuli, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor

The services of a good scientific editor are invaluable to a busy clinician who is also trying to do research and write grants/papers.
– Jerry Lowder, MD, MS, Associate Professor

The grant was made more readable and the editing pointed out holes in reasoning that those close to it could not see.
– David Mutch, MD, Professor

I think you deserve all the credit for the comment ”this is a nicely written paper.”
– Valerie Ratts, MD, Professor

I cannot thank you enough!  Your edits made a world of difference.
– Ebony Carter, MD, Assistant Professor

About the editor

Debbie Frank became the Scientific Editor for the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at the Washington University School of Medicine in 2012 and was promoted to Senior Scientific Editor in 2021. She helps faculty members, medical fellows, residents, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students prepare research manuscripts and grant and fellowship proposals. In this work, Debbie’s primary goal is clear and concise communication of science, with an eye to highlighting the significance of the work. She takes tremendous satisfaction in helping investigators, especially trainees and assistant professors, succeed in their careers.

Debbie received her bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from the University of California, San Diego, and her Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from a joint program between the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Her dissertation, under the mentorship of Mark Roth, was on growth control in C. elegans and Drosophila.

She began her career at Washington University in 2001 as a postdoctoral fellow and then research scientist in Kathryn Miller’s laboratory in the Biology Department. In this role, she conducted research on the actin cytoskeleton and the motor protein Myosin VI in Drosophila. Debbie also taught a Biomedical Ethics class for non-majors in University College and a junior/senior-level writing-intensive Developmental Biology course in the Biology Department. From 2011 through 2019, she ran mock fellowship proposal-writing workshops for summer undergraduate research programs.

As part of her commitment to service, Debbie is a member of the Washington University Institutional Review Board. Additionally, she co-founded the Scientific Editors Network, which brings together editors from all over the United States to share knowledge and resources. Debbie enjoys rock climbing, backpacking, running, cycling, and practicing Buddhism in the Plum Village tradition.

Download CV (pdf) »

Request a consultation

For assistance editing grant and fellowship proposals, manuscripts, and other documents, contact:

Deborah Frank, PhD
Senior Scientific Editor, Department of Ob/Gyn
314-747-1701 |
BJCIH Room 10617

Download Scientific Editing Service Guidelines (pdf) »

More resources for investigators

Additional support services and core facilities include grant-finding and -writing assistance, tissue and data banks, clinical research facilities, and more.

See all resources for investigators »