Daniel R, Franken, M MedSc, PhDWe mourn the loss of Daniel R. Franken, Ph.D., who passed on October 18th, 2021, in Cape Town, RSA. Prof. Franken was an Emeritus Academic Professor at Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, and the Research Director of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of the Free State, in Bloemfontein, South Africa.
Daniel was a research pioneer in reproductive biology/medicine, and a dedicated, honest, and unselfish mentor to students from all over the world, who always presented himself with a friendly smile, with enormous charisma and infecting personality, transmitting his wit and positivism to colleagues and mentors. His work had an impact on the characterization, significance, and quality control and assurance of sperm morphology evaluation. He was instrumental in the development of novel bioassays of sperm functions, i.e., sperm binding capacity to the zona pellucida using the hemi-zona assay, and induction of the acrosome reaction (with a uniquely designed micro-volume test using human solubilized zona pellucida). These assays assisted the clinician in ART management and guided infertility therapy, concepts that were always behind his reasoning. Daniel possessed the unique qualities of having an insatiable scientific thinking, but in addition, he was a hands-on scientist, a talented technician that mastered all the methodologies he assayed or developed himself.
He will be remembered by his academic colleagues throughout the world. We share the pain of his loss with his beloved children Jaco, Carine, and Anel, and his five grandchildren. Professor Franken, reproductive biologist, mentor, and friend will be greatly missed.