UCL Division of Biosciences


Professor Frances Brodsky

Professor of Cell Biology
Department of Structural and Molecular Biology
Division of Biosciences
University College London, London

Adjunct Professor
Departments of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and Microbiology & Immunology
The G.W. Hooper Foundation
University of California, San Francisco

Honorary Professor
Institute for Molecular Bioscience
University of Queensland, Brisbane

Frances Brodsky graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Biochemical Sciences in 1976, and earned her doctorate from Oxford University under a Marshall Scholarship in 1979.  Brodsky's graduate work with immunologist Sir Walter Bodmer applied the then-novel technology of monoclonal antibodies to study human histocompatability molecules (HLA).  Brodsky worked as a postdoctoral fellow, first with Jack Strominger at Harvard, and then with Peter Parham at Stanford University, initiating her research on clathrin biochemistry.  Brodsky then joined Becton Dickinson Immunocytometry Systems as a Programme Manager, where she ran her own lab for four years focussing on clathrin and intracellular membrane traffic in the immune response, which she continued as an Assistant Professor at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).  Brodsky was awarded tenure in 1994, and was a full professor at UCSF until 2014, when she joined University College London (UCL) as Director of the Division of Biosciences (2014-2020), where she continues to run her laboratory and teach.  Prof. Brodsky has served as a member and chair of numerous boards, study sections, and advisory committees for organisations such as the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the Human Frontiers Science Program, the Searle Scholars Program and the Pew Scholars Program.  She is an elected fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (serving on council, 2018-2020 and as Interim Vice-President International, 2020-2021) and member of EMBO.  In 2000, Brodsky co-founded the scientific journal Traffic, which specialises in intracellular transport, and served as an editor and on the board until 2020.  Research in the Brodsky lab continues to focus on the biochemical and physiological functions of clathrin.


Stanford University, USA 1980 - 82 Postdoc Structural Biology
Harvard University, USA 1980 Postdoc Biochemistry
Oxford University, UK 1979 D Phil Genetics
Harvard University, USA 1976 BA Biochemistry

Honours and Awards

2021 Interim Vice-President International, Academy of Medical Sciences
2019 Appointed member of the Governing Council of the Academy of Medical Sciences
2018 Keynote speaker at conference on Molecular Evolution and the Cell - University of Utah
2017 15th Randall Lecturer, King's College London
2017 Elected Member of EMBO
2017 External Member, Francis Crick Institute, Cell Biology and Signalling Interest Group
2016 Wellcome Trust Investigator
2015 Elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, UK
2010 Lord Harris Visiting Professorship, Harris Manchester College, Oxford
2007 WICB Senior Career Recognition Award, American Society for Cancer Biology
2006 Visiting Fellow, King's College, Cambridge
2006 Margaret Pittman Lecturer, National Institutes of Health
2005 - present Honorary Professor, Institute for Molecular Biosciences, University of Queensland 
2005 Boehringer-Ingelheim Lecturer, McGill University
1988 - 1992 Pew Scholar Award
1987 Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association Fund Research Starter Grant
1980 - 1982 Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Fund, Postdoctoral Fellowship
1976 - 1979 Marshall Scholarship for Study in the United Kingdom
1976 Graduated Summa cum laude in Biochemical Sciences, Harvard
1975 Dreyfus Fellowship (Summer Research), Phi Beta Kappa - Junior Year

Review and Advisory Board Memberships

2018 - present Jury member, Blavatnik Life Sciences Award
2017 - 2023 Member and Chair (2020-2023), Sectional Committee 2, Academy of Medical Sciences
2017  Chair, HCERES lab review panel, Institut Curie
2014 - 2020 Chair, Academic Oversight Committee, Institute of Zoology, ZSL
2011 - 2017 Member, National Advisory Board, Pew Scholars Program
2013 - 2015 Chair, MBPP Study Section, NIH
2009 - 2015 Member, MBPP Study Section, NIH
2006 - 2010 Member, Searle Scholars Advisory Board
2002 - 2007 Member, Vice-Chair and Chair, Human Frontiers Science Program Review Committee
1999 - 2004 Member, Board of Scientific Counsellors, NIAID
1998 - 2003 Member, Career Award Review Panel, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America
1992 - 1997 Member, ALY Study Section, NIH

Editorial Board Memberships

 2000 - 2020 Editorial Board, Traffic (Founding co-editor 2000-2005, Reviews Editor 2005-2010)
 2011 - 2017 Editorial Board, Frontiers in Life Sciences
 2008 - 2011 Board of Management, HFSP Journal, now Frontiers in Life Sciences
 1984 - 1999 Member, Editorial Board of Human Immunology
 1992 - 1997 Editorial board, Journal of Clinical Investigation
 1991 - 1994 Associate Editor, Journal of Immunology


2014 - present Professor of Cell Biology, UCL
2014 - 2020  Director, Division of Biosciences, UCL
2015 - present Adjunct Professor, UCSF
1994 - 2015 Professor, UCSF
2005 - present Honorary Professor, University of Queensland, Australia
2000 - 2020 Editorial Board, Traffic (Founding co-editor 2000-2005, Reviews Editor 2005-2010)
1991 - 1994 Associate Professor, UCSF
1987 - 1991 Assistant Professor, UCSF
1982 - 1986 Program Manager, Cell Biology, Becton Dickinson Immunocytometry Systems
1980 - 1982 Postdoctoral Fellow under Dr. P. Parham, Stanford University
1979 - 1980 Postdoctoral Fellow under Dr. J.L. Strominger, Harvard University
1976 - 1979 Graduate Student under Dr. W.F. Bodmer, Oxford University


Please follow this PubMed link for a complete list of Prof. Brodsky's publications.


Novels for lay audience about bench science, writing as B.B. Jordan.

  • Triplet Code (2001), Berkley Prime Crime ISBN-10: 0425179206; ISBN-13: 978-0425179208
  • Secondary Immunization (1999), Berkley Prime Crime ISBN-10: 0425171183; ISBN-13: 978-0425171189
  • Principal Investigation (1997), Berkley Prime Crime ISBN-10: 0425160904; ISBN-13: 978-0425160909


  • Brodsky, FM. Thomas E. Kreis 1952-1998 - Obituary. Trends Cell Biol. 8, 476 (1998).
  • Traub, LM & Brodsky, FM.  Ernst Joachim Ungewickell 1950-2020. J Cell Biol. Nov 2;219(11):e202009044. doi: 10.1083/jcb.202009044. (2020).
  • Brodsky, FM & Parham, P. In memoriam: Peter Hartmann (1946-2020), publisher, colleague and friend. Traffic. 2020 Sep 27. doi: 10.1111/tra.12767. (2020).