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Dr. Frank Douglas graduated with a B.S. in Engineering from Lehigh University in 1966. He went on to a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Cornell University, with a thesis on chlorophyll-a. After a medical degree from Cornell University Medical School, he completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical Institution and a fellowship in neuroendocrinology at the National Institutes of Health.
Following his fellowship, Douglas took a position as an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. He also began work at the pharma company Ciba-Geigy. In 1992, he became an executive vice president at Marion Merrell Dow, where he remained as it was acquired and changed names to Hoechst Marion Roussel, and later to Aventis.
In 2005, Douglas left Aventis and took a position as a professor of the practice at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was involved in founding the Center for Biomedical Innovation. After two years at MIT, he resigned over concerns about institutional racism. In 2009, Douglas moved to Akron, Ohio to serve as president and CEO of the Austen BioInnovation Institute. He left the institute at the beginning of 2015.
Douglas published an autobiography in 2018, Defining Moments of a Free Man from a Black Stream.