Frank Uhlmann was born and grew up in Germany. He studied biochemistry and physiological chemistry at the University of Tübingen before joining Jerry Hurwitz's laboratory at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for his PhD studies. Frank then moved to the Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna, Austria, to work as a postdoc with Kim Nasmyth.
In 2000, he established a research laboratory at what was then the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London. He has remained there ever since, while the institute became part of Cancer Research UK (the London Research Institute) and now the Francis Crick Institute.
His work on chromosome segregation was recognised with the EMBO Gold Medal in 2006.