Francis is originally from New Zealand and completed his undergraduate studies in Chemistry and Biotechnology at Victoria University of Wellington. During this time, he completed research projects on genetically modified bacterial substrate profiles, as well as on novel organic-inorganic hybrid photovoltaic materials and size-controlled nanoparticle synthesis. To finish his degree, Francis spent a year studying in France, before deciding to stay and undertake a Master’s in Chemistry and Materials Science at Université Claude Bernard in Lyon, France. During this time, he specialized in biomaterials and his Master’s thesis was centered on the creation of novel biocompatible hydrogels based on ionically crosslinked polymer systems stable at physiological pH. Through this work, he developed a strong interest in the interface and interactions between biomaterials and a given biological environment, more specifically those arising from variations in a hydrogel’s physiochemical properties.
Francis is an avid sportsman and can regularly be found in the swimming pool playing waterpolo.