Professor Frank heads the Department of Food Biofunctionality at the Institute of Nutritional Sciences of the University of Hohenheim. He is the vice dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, vice director of the Food Security Center, and the chairman of the governance board of the Research Center for Health Sciences at the University of Hohenheim.

His research interests lie in factors that determine the absorption, metabolism, and elimination of the different vitamin E congeners and phytochemicals (such as curcuminoids and flavonoids) and in developing novel strategies to overcome the low intrinsic oral bioavailability of phytochemicals, as well as in understanding the biological activities of these potentially health-beneficial bioactives.

GVF Vitamin Award 2020 for Dr. Maren Podszun

Dr. Maren Podszun, Bild: Michael Damböck

Dr. Maren Podszun, Bild: Michael Damböck

Dr. Maren Podszun, a University of Hohenheim nutritional sciences alumni and current lecturer at the department, who worked on her doctoral dissertation from 2011 to 2015 in our group before commencing her postdoctoral research at the National Institutes of Health in the USA, was awarded the Vitamin Award 2020 of the Gesellschaft für angewandte Vitaminforschung e.V. (GVF) for her research on the role of vitamin E in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Her research, for the first time, provided evidence that alpha-tocopherol, the biologically most active form of vitamin E, acts as an antioxidant in the human liver and thereby reduces the progression of NAFLD to non-alcoholic hepatosteatosis (NASH). 

Her findings were published in the Journal of Histochemistry & Cytochemistry

See also further information on the websites of the GVF (press release) and the University of Hohenheim.

News: NFS Journal reaches a CiteScore of 9.4

Prof. Frank, the Editor-in-Chief of NFS Journal, the scientific journal of the Society of Nutrition and Food Science, is proud to present the 2019 CiteScore for NFS Journal of 9.4. The journal now ranks among the top 6% of journals in the fields of nutrition and food sciences. Read more…

Submit your work to NFS Journal to receive global visibility of your research.

What is it called: phytochemical, (poly)phenol, nutraceutical?

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A group of global experts joined forces to develop recommendations for standadised and consistent use of terms to describe plant-derived dietary compounds in scientific publications. The ultimate goal was to establish scientific criteria for definitions that could be applied to clearly define and differentiate commonly used terms and thus ensure their consistent application in the scientific literature.

Frank et al. (2020) Terms and nomenclature used for plant-derived components in nutrition and related research: Efforts toward harmonization. Nutrition Reviews

New Book published: Vitamin E in Human Health


Professor Frank, together with his colleagues Profs. Weber, Birringer, Blumberg and Eggersdorfer, edited a book on the role of vitamin E in human health, which was published by Springer in April 2019. The comprehensive book comprises 31 chapters describing the state-of-the-art knowledge around vitamin E, from the history of vitamin E research and metabolic and physiological basics to the roles of vitamin E in the prevention of diseases and dietary choices of consumers. 

Congratulatons to Dr. Andrea Irias Mata

who gave a brilliant presentation and succesfully defended her Ph.D. thesis on March 15, 2019.


Shooting in the lab

Monika Kovacsics and her camera team filmed in our laboratory and interviewed Prof. Frank about his curcumin research for the tv program Odysso. The piece was aired on SWR September 20, 2018. The media stream is available here.


Are € 2.77 per day enough to provide a healthy and balanced diet for a child?

In Germany, parents on welfare receive 2.77 € per day for the alimentation of their children under the age of 6 years. Scientists from the Society of Nutrition and Food Science warn that this may not be enough to provide growing children at this vulnerable age with a balanced and healthy diet. Micronutrient malnutrition - or hidden hunger - during childhood is more frequent in families with low socio-economic status and is a cause of impaired physical and brain development, which may last into adulthood. Hence, poverty may lead to malnutrition and impaired cognitive development, which in turn may predetermine for a low socio-economic status. This vicious cycle may be hard to break for children from less privileged families. 

Young children, particularly at the early stages of their development, require a diet rich in micronutrient-dense foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole-grain cereals, dairy products,  and more, to maintain optimum health and develop their full mental and physical capacities. More research is needed to determine how much money per day is necessary to provide children in Germany with a balanced and healthy diet that will allow them to succeed in life. But the SNFS experts estimate that 2.77 € will not be enough and urge the German government to initiate the required research and re-evaluate and raise the current numbers. 

Read the full statement (in German) here.

Selected recent publications

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Terms and nomenclature used for plant-derived components in nutrition and related research: Efforts toward harmonization

Nutrition Reviews

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α-Tocopherol transfer protein does not regulate the cellular uptake and intracellular distribution of α- and γ-tocopherols and -tocotrienols in cultured liver cells. 

Redox Biology 19: 28-36


The oral bioavailability of 8-prenylnaringenin from hops (Humulus lupulus L.) in healthy women and men is significantly higher than that of its positional isomer 6-prenylnaringenin in a randomized crossover trial. 

Mol Nutr Food Res 62: 1700838


Natural 6-hydroxy-chromanols and -chromenols: structural diversity, biosynthetic pathways and health implications.

RSC Advances 8: 4803-4841


Tocopherols, tocomonoenols and tocotrienols in oils of Costa Rican palm fruits: a comparison between six varieties and chemical vs. mechanical extraction.

J Agric Food Chem 65: 7476–7482


Validation of a rapid and sensitive reversed- phase liquid chromatographic method for the quantification of prenylated chalcones and flavanones in plasma and urine. 

NFS Journal 10: 1-9

Dietary flavonoids and modulation of natural killer cells: Implications in malignant and viral diseases. 

J Nutr Biochem 2017; 46: 1-12


Vitamin E: emerging aspects and new directions.

Free Radical Biology & Medicine 2017; 102:16-36

The long chain α–tocopherol metabolite α-13’-COOH and γ-tocotrienol induce P-glycoprotein expression and activity by activation of the pregnane X receptor in the intestinal cell line LS 180. 

Mol Nutr Food Res 61: 1600605

Planet Wissen: Vitamine - wie viele brauchen wir wirklich?

Professor Frank was invited to appear as a nutrition expert on the German TV program planet wissen

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Paper of the year 2014

Our paper The oral bioavailability of curcumin from micronized powder and liquid micelles is significantly increased in healthy humans and differs between sexes was the article with the most downloads from the website of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research in 2014 and therefore selected as the journal’s Paper of the year 2014. Since its publication, the paper has ranked every year among the five most accessed papers published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research.


In this article, the lead authors Christina Schiborr and Alexa Kocher report the results of a crossover human trial identifying micellar solubilisation as a technique to increase the oral bioavailability of curcumin 185-fold over native curcumin.