James Frank, MD
Research: The epithelium in the lung is at the front line protecting the inside of the body from the outside world. Problems with this barrier function of the lung epithelium are at the center of several common lung diseases. My laboratory studies how epithelial barrier function is controlled, both in health and in disease. Our goal is to develop new therapies that beneficially target the regulatory pathways controlling epithelial barrier function. Much of our work is focused on a family of proteins called claudins, particularly claudin-4 and lung-specific claudin-18. Claudins are proteins that span the cell membrane and create points of contact with adjacent cells. Individual claudins confer distinct barrier properties to an epithelium - they determine what can pass between cells. Changes in the function or regulation of these proteins may contribute to diseases like ARDS, ventilator-associated lung injury, asthma and lung fibrosis.
Clinical: As Co-Director of the Intensive Care Unit at the San Francisco VAMC, most of my clinical work is in the ICU, where I am an attending physician. I also see outpatients in our general pulmonary clinic and direct the Pulmonary ALS Clinic, which is part of our Multidisciplinary ALS Team. In addition to patient care I am actively involved in ICU quality improvement projects and clinical education.
Education: Teaching students, residents and fellows is always a highlight of my day. In the ICU, I coordinate our core curriculum sessions and teach workshops on critical care ultrasound. I am also actively involved in the patient simulation program at the SFVA.
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Mechanical Ventilation, Ventilator-associated Lung Injury, Asthma, Epithelial Barrier Function, Critical Care Ultrasound, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Quality Improvement, Patient Simulation, Medical Education
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