Scientific Editing Service

In the current funding climate, grant and fellowship proposals must be well written to ensure that reviewers can easily understand the proposed work. Additionally, the pressure to publish means that manuscripts must clearly describe the question being asked and the research performed.

For these reasons, the Washington University Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology employs a full-time scientific editor, Deborah Frank, PhD, whose goal is to help all members of the department write clearly and effectively to enhance the success of their grant and manuscript submissions. Trained as a scientist, she provides comprehensive editing for grants and manuscripts that goes beyond improving grammar and clarity – additionally making suggestions that strengthen the scientific arguments and highlight the significance of the work.

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


  • 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 guidelines of journals and funding agencies.
  • Provide suggestions to improve clarity of figures and strength of scientific arguments
  • Consult with authors on rough drafts

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

Your ability to think as a reviewer and to structure the grant in the mindset as a reviewer is invaluable.

– Katherine Fuh, MD, PhD, Assistant 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. 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.

Outside of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Debbie runs summer writing programs for the Amgen Scholars Program and the BP-ENDURE Neuroscience Pipeline, which bring undergraduates from all over the country to conduct research in Washington University laboratories. She greatly enjoys teaching writing to the next generation of scientists.

Download CV (pdf) »


Request a consultation

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

Deborah Frank, PhD
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 available to researchers in the ob/gyn department include grant-finding and -writing assistance, tissue and data banks, clinical research facilities and more.

See all resources for investigators »