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Your browser may not support display of this image.Senior Investigator 
Joseph A. Frank MD, MS
Chief, Frank Laboratory 
Imaging Sciences Training Program
Radiology and Imaging Sciences
Senior Investigator, IRP
National Institutes of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering

Academic Degrees
BA, State University of New York at Stony Brook
MS, State University of New York at Stony Brook
MD, State University of New York at Stony Brook

Frank Laboratory, Radiology and Imaging Sciences
E. Kay Jordan, DVM
Edyta Pawelczyk, PhD
Matthew Budde, PhD
Jodi Haller, PhD
Wei Liu, PhD
Bobbi K. Lewis, BA
Eric Gold, BA
Melissa Smith, BS
Aneeka Chauhdry, BS

Portrait of Joseph Frank


Dr. Joseph A. Frank earned his medical degree graduated State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook in 1981 and trained in Internal Medicine at the University Hospital, Boston University Medical Center from 1981-1984. Dr. Frank was trained in the National Cancer Institute Medical Oncology fellowship program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from 1984-85 and is board certified in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology. Between 1985-1992 Dr. Frank was the Director of MRI Research in the Diagnostic Radiology Department of the Clinical Center. He became a tenured senior investigator in the Clinical Center in 1989. In 1992, Dr. Frank moved to the Office of Intramural Research, Office of the Director, NIH, to take a position as Chief of the Laboratory of Diagnostic Radiology Research (LDRR) a congressionally mandated program. He is now the Chief of the Frank Laboratory in the Radiology and Imaging Sciences Department, Clinical Center. He is also a Senior Investigator in the Intramural Research Program, National Institutes of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. Dr. Frank received his undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the SUNY at Stony Brook in Chemistry and a research Master of Science degree in Chemistry in 1977. His graduate student advisor from 1973-1978 was Dr. Paul Lauterbur, the 2003 Nobel Laureate for Physiology and Medicine. Dr. Frank's research in the Lauterbur laboratory was performing in vivo NMR zeugmatographic imaging studies in mice with implanted tumors. His thesis focused on evaluating the NMR relaxation properties of paramagnetic agents, myocardial infarction and shock lung damage in experimental models.

Dr. Frank has a long standing clinical research focus of using MRI and Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic Imaging as outcome measures to monitor the natural history and effect of treatment in central nervous system diseases.

The Frank Laboratory's present major translation research interest is in the area of development of cellular and molecular imaging for use in cell and gene therapy. The Frank Laboratory pioneered techniques using FDA approved superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIO) complexed to tranfection agents (TA) to magnetically label cells for cellular MRI. This method of magnetic cellular labeling is not toxic to cells and has resulted in MR imaging being used to monitor the temporal spatial migration of labeled cells as part of cellular therapy. This SPIO-TA nanoparticle complex is presently under pre-clinical evaluation for an FDA investigational new drug application to use this labeling approach in early phase clinical trials. Plans are underway to label hematopoietic or bone marrow stromal stem cells or immune cells in patients with malignancy, ischemic or autoimmune diseases. The laboratory's translational research is focused on using imaging approaches in combination with stem cells or immune cells that serve as delivery vehicles for gene therapy or theranostic nanoparticles to track target and treat diseases in experimental models. His lab is using cellular MRI to evaluate the appropriate route of delivery, provide feedback into the preferred sites of engraftment and aid in determining the optimal dosing schedule and numbers of cells to be used to achieve the therapeutic outcome. Molecular and cellular biology approaches are also being developed to improve stem cell survival and homing to target tissues. Dr. Frank also is a member of the Center for Neurosciences and Regenerative Medicine a joint program with University Services Uniformed Health Systems supported by grants to the Frank Laboratory from DOD to evaluate the use of stem cell therapy as neuroregenerative treatment of traumatic brain injury. Dr. Frank's new research area of interests is to couple nondestructive, noninvasive pulsed focused ultrasound with stem cell infusion to enhance homing permeability and retention of cell products as part of regenerative medicine and treatment approach for cellular therapies.

Dr. Frank has trained over 25 post-doctoral and radiological fellows in translational research techniques. Dr. Frank has presented at national and international meetings in the area of cellular and molecular imaging and demyelinating diseases. He has served on the Society of Molecular Imaging Board of Councilors and Board of Governance Committee for International Society of Magnetic Resonance In Medicine. Dr. Frank is a Fellow of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance In Medicine. 

Selected Publications

Dr. Frank is an internationally known clinician scientist in the area of MRI, neuroimaging and molecular and cellular imaging.  He has published over 263 peer-reviewed publications and 18 book chapters and monographs. He is a scientific reviewer for over 15 different scientific journals in the area of imaging and experimental medicine. 

Burks SR, Hancock HA, Ziadloo A, Chaudhry A, Dean DD, Gold E, Lewis BK, Frenkel V, Frank JA, Investigations Cellular and molecular responses to focused ultrasound in mouse model PLoS ONE 2011;6:e24730.

Budde MD, Janes L, Gold E, Turtzo LC, Frank JA, The Contribution of Gliosis to Diffusion Tensor Anisotropy and Tractography following Traumatic Brain Injury in the Rat: Validation with Fourier Analysis of Histological Sections. Brain July 2011;134:2248-60.

Thu MS, Bryant LH, Coppola T, Jordan EK, Budde MD, Lewis BK, Chaudhry A, Varma NRS, Arbab AS, Frank JA, Self-Assembling Nanocomplexes by combining Ferumoxytol Heparin And Protamine For Cell Trafficking by MRI.  Nature Medicine in press.

Haller J, Panyutin I, Zeng C, Chaudhry A, Mach RH, Frank JA Sigma-2 Receptor as Potential Indicator of Stem Cell Differentiation, Molecular Imaging and Biology 2011 on-line.

Cole JT, Yarnell, A, Kean W, Gold E, Lewis B, M. Ren M, McMullen DC, Jacobowitz D, Pollard HB, O’Neill JT, Grunberg NE, Dalgard CL, Frank JA, Watson WD. Craniotomy: True sham for traumatic brain injury, or a sham of a sham. Journal of Neurotrauma 2011;28(3):359-69.

Song HT, Jordan EK, Lewis BK, Gold E, Liu W, Frank JA. Quantitative T2* Imaging of Metastatic Human Breast Cancer to Brain in the nude rat at 3-Tesla NMR in Biomedicine 2011;24(3):325-34.

Budde MD, Frank JA, Neurite Beading is Sufficient to Decrease the Apparent Diffusion Coefficient Following Ischemic Stroke Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2010;107:14472-7.

Balakumaran A, Pawelczyk E, Ren J, Sworder B, Chaudhry A, Gromel N, Smith M, Lewis BK, Childs, R, Frank JA, Robey PG. Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles labeling of bone marrow stromal (mesenchymal) cells does not affect their “stemness”. PLoS ONE 2010:5:e11462.

Arbab AS, Janic B, Jafari-Khouzani K, Iskander AS, Kumar S, Varma NR, Knight RA, Soltanian-Zadeh H, Brown SL, Frank JA, Differentiation of glioma and radiation injury in rats using in vitro produce magnetically labeled cytotoxic T-cells and MRI. PLoS ONE 2010;5:e9365.

Song HT, Jordan EK, Lewis BK, Liu W, Ganjei J, Klaunberg B, Despres D, Palmieri D, Frank JA. MRI and Bioluminescence imaging for Detection of Human Metastatic Breast Cancer in the Nude Rat. Journal of Translational Medicine 2009;7:88.

Janic B, Rad AM, Jordan EK, Iskander ASM, Ali AM, Frank JA, Arbab AS. Optimal method to magnetically label cells for MRI. PLoS ONE 2009;4:e5873.

Pawelczyk E, Jordan EK, Balakumaran A, Chaudhry A, Gromel N, Smith M, Lewis BK, Childs R, Robey PG, Frank JA, In Vivo Uptake of Intracellular Label by Tissue Macrophages from Prelabeled Bone Marrow Stromal Cells: Quantitative Analysis and Implications for Cellular Therapy. PLoS ONE 2009;4:e6712.

Liu W, Dahnke H, Rahmer J, Jordan EK, Frank JA, Ultrashort T2* Relaxometry for Quantitation of Highly Concentrated Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide (SPIO) Nanoparticle Labeled Cells. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 2009;61:761-6.

Pawelczyk E, Arbab AS, Chaudhry A, Balakumaran A, Robey PG, Frank JA, In Vitro Model of BrdU or Iron Oxide Nanoparticle Uptake by Activated Macrophages from Labeled Stem Cells: Implications for Cellular Therapy. Stem Cells 2008;26:1366-75.

Lee JH, Schneider B, Jordan EK, Liu W, Frank JA. Cell labeling with Self-Assembly Complexes of Fluorescent Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles (FL SPION) and Protamine Sulfate. Advanced Materials 2008:20:2512-16.

Arbab AS, Janic B, Knight RA, Anderson SA, Pawelczyk E,Iskander ASM, Rad AM, Bur M, Read EJ, Pandit SD, Frank JA. Detection of Migration of locally implanted AC 133+ stem cells by Cellular Magnetic Resonance Imaging with Histological Correlation. Federation of American Society of Experimental Biology Journal 2008;22:3234-46.

Arbab AS and Frank JA. Cellular MRI and its role in stem cell therapy Regenerative Medicine 2008;3:199-215.

Liu W, Jordan EK, Lewis BK, Banu N, Schaeffter T, Frank JA, In vivo MRI using Positive Contrast Techniques in Detection of SPIO Labeled Cells. NMR in Biomedicine 2008;21:242-50.

Frank, JA, Kalish, H, Jordan, EK, Anderson, SA, Pawelczyk E, Arbab, AS. Color Transformation and Fluorescence of Prussian blue positive cells: Implications for histological verification of cells labeled with superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles. Molecular Imaging 2007;6:212-8.

Arbab AS, Rad AM, Iskander A, Jafari-Khouzani K, Brown SL, Churchman JL, Ding G, Jiang Q, Frank JA, Soltanian-Zadeh H, Peck DJ. Magnetically Labeled Sensitized Splenocytes to Identify Glioma by MRI: A Preliminary study Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 2007;58:519-26.

Arbab, AS, Pandit, SD, Anderson, SA, Yocum, GT, Bur, M, Frenkel V, Read, EJ, Frank, JA, Magnetically Labeled Endothelial Progenitor Cells trafficking to Tumor Angiogenesis by MRI and Confocal Microscopy. Stem Cells 2006:24:671-78.

Khakoo AY, Pati S, Anderson SA, Reid W, Elshal MF, Nguyen A, Malide D, Combs CA, Stetler-Stevenson W, Frank JA, Reitz M, and Finkel T., Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells Exert potent anti-tumorigenic effects in a model of karposi sarcoma. Journal of Experimental Medicine 2006;203:1235-47.

Manson S, Palace J, Frank JA, Matthews, P. Loss of interhemispheric inhibition in patients with multiple sclerosis is related to corpus callosum atrophy. Experimental Brain Research 2006;174:728-33.

Anderson SA, Lee K, Frank JA. Gadolinium Fullerenol as a paramagnetic contrast agent for cell labeling. Investigative Radiology 2006;41:332-338.

Anderson, SA, Glod, J, Arbab, AS, Noel, M, Fine, HA, Frank, JA., Non-invasive MR imaging of magnetically labeled stem cells to directly identify neovasculature in a glioma model. Blood 2005;105:420-5.

Arbab AS, Yocum GT, Rad, AM, Khakoo AY, Read EJ, Frank JA. Labeling of Cells with Ferumoxides-Protamine Sulfate Complexes does not Inhibit Functional or Differential capacity of Hematopoietic or Mesenchymal Stem Cells. NMR in Biomedicine 2005;18:383-9.

Arbab, AS, Yocum, GT, Kalish, H, Jordan, EK, Khakoo, A, Anderson, SA, Read, EJ, Frank, JA, Magnetic Cell Labeling with Protamine Sulfate complexed to Ferumoxides for Cellular MRI. Blood 2004;104:1217-1223.

This page last reviewed on 10/4/11

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