Steve Frank develops mathematical, computational, and conceptual models to study complex phenotypes.
Earlier in his career, he focused on how evolutionary and genetic processes shape reproductive and behavioral traits. It was necessary at that time to treat as a black box many of the genetical and physiological details that determine phenotypes, and to focus in a general way on how natural selection influences phenotypes over very broad assumptions about underlying mechanisms.
His research has changed in the past few years, following the great changes in modern biology. It is now possible to see below the surface of complex phenotypes to the biochemical and genetical mechanisms that control those characters. He has continued to focus on complex phenotypes as he did earlier in my career, but now with particular emphasis on how the quantitative dynamics of genetical, biochemical, and cellular mechanisms determine those phenotypes, and how evolutionary processes in turn shape the mechanisms and dynamics that give rise to phenotypes.