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Portrait of Joseph A. Frank
Joseph A. Frank, MD, MS

Senior Investigator
Chief, Frank Laboratory
Chief, Laboratory of Diagnostic Radiology Research
Co-Director, Center for Infectious Disease Imaging


Radiology and Imaging Sciences


Adjunct Senior Investigator, IRP, NIBIB


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


Email: jfrank@mail.nih.gov
Phone: 301-402-4314

Portrait of Joseph A. Frank
Joseph A. Frank, MD, MS

Senior Investigator
Chief, Frank Laboratory
Chief, Laboratory of Diagnostic Radiology Research
Co-Director, Center for Infectious Disease Imaging


Radiology and Imaging Sciences


Adjunct Senior Investigator, IRP, NIBIB


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


Email: jfrank@mail.nih.gov
Phone: 301-402-4314


Dr. Joseph A. Frank is an internationally known clinician scientist in the area of MRI, neuroimaging, molecular and cellular imaging and focused ultrasound.


Dr. Frank earned his medical degree from the 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 1984-1985 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 Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Clinical Center.

He is also an Adjunct Senior Investigator in the Intramural Research Program, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

Dr. Frank's 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.

The Frank Laboratory's present major translation research interest is in the understanding of the molecular and immune effects of therapeutic ultrasound on the tissue microenvironment in order to improve cell therapy for regenerative medicine or treatment of disease. His lab has shown that therapeutic ultrasound applied in disease tissues can be sed to enhance homing permeability and retention of infused stem cells and improve clinical outcomes. The Frank Lab has also demonstrated that the application of 1 second of pulsed focused ultrasound to tissues can induce a proteomic response lasting up to 48 hours post-sonication.

Dr. Frank's laboratory is now investigating the use of pFUS, a nondestructive, noninvasive technique with stem cell infusion to EHPR of cells to targeted areas of pathology as part of a regenerative medicine and treatment approach using cellular therapies. Application of this combined pFUS with stem cells reveals improvement in clinical function and survival in acute kidney injury models when compared to stem cells alone. The pFUS and stem cells therapeutic approach is being investigated in various experimental models of kidney diseases, muscular dystrophy, cardiac diseases and treatment of tumors.

The Frank Laboratory pioneered techniques using FDA approved superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIO) 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. The Frank 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. He is also evaluating the use of stem cell therapy as a neuroregenerative treatment of traumatic brain injury.

Dr. Frank has trained over 30 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. 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 and the American College of Phsicians.

He has published over 330 peer-reviewed publications and 19 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, Nagle ME, Bresler MN, Kim S, Star RA, and Frank JA. Renal pretreatment by ultrasound activates an IFNγ/IL-10 axis to enhance potency of mesenchymal stromal cell therapy in acute kidney injury. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 2018; Sep 14. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.13874

Kovacs ZI, Tu TW, Sundby S, Qureshi F, Lewis BK, Jikaria N, Frank JA. MRI and histological evaluation of pulsed focused ultrasound and microbubbles treatment effects in the brain Theranostics 2018;8:4837-55.

Tu TW, Ibrahim W, Jikaria N, Munasinghe J, Witko J, Hammoud D, and Frank JA. Glucose Chemical Exchange Saturation Transfer (glucoCEST) weighted MR imaging in experimental traumatic brain injury. Scientific Reports 2018;8:669.

Kovacs ZI, Kim SJ, Jikaria N, Qureshi F, Milo B, Nagel M, Bresler M, Lewis BK, Burks SR, Frank JA. Disrupting the blood brain barrier by focused ultrasound induces sterile inflammation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2017;114:E75-E84.

Tebebi PA, Burks SR, Nguyen BA, Kim SJ, Turtzo LC, Venkatesah P, Frenkel V, Frank JA. Cyclo-oxygenase or TNF inhibitors interfere with the mechanotransductive effects of pulsed focused ultrasound in enhanced mesenchymal stromal cell homing. Stem Cells. 2015;33(4):1173-86

Burks SR, Nguyen BA, Tebebi PA, Ziadloo A, Kim SJ, Yeun P, Street J, Star RA and Frank JA. Renal protection, regeneration, and survival during acute kidney injury are improved by enhanced mesenchymal stromal cell homing through pulsed focused ultrasound. Stem Cells 2015;33(4):1241-53.

Naumova A, Modo M, Moore AV, Murry C, Frank JA. Clinical imaging in regenerative medicine Nature Biotechnology 2014;32:804-18.

Turtzo LC, Lescher J, Janes L, Dean DD, Budde MD, Frank JA. Macrophage and Microglial Response after Focal Traumatic Brain Injury in the Female Rat. Journal of Neuroimmunology 2014;11:82.

Burks SR, Ziadloo A, Kim SJ, and Frank JA. Noninvasive pulsed focused ultrasound allows spatiotemporal control of targeted homing for multiple stem cell types in murine skeletal muscle and the magnitude of cell homing can increased through repeated applications. Stem Cells 2013;31:2551-60.

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 2011;134:2248-60.


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This page last updated on 03/19/2019

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