Benjamin J. Frankfort, M.D., Ph.D. Photo

Benjamin J. Frankfort, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Baylor College of Medicine

Position

Address

Mail: Neurosensory Center (Mailing)
NC - 205
Houston, Texas 77030
United States
(713) 798-6816
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Mail: Neurosensory Center (Work)
NC - 205
Houston, Texas 77030
United States
(713) 798-6816
Google Maps
Lab: Neurosensory Building (Lab)
NC - 306
Houston, Texas 77030
United States
Google Maps
Jamail Specialty Care Center - Alkek Eye Center (Clinic)
1977 Butler Blvd.
3rd Floor
Houston, Texas 77030
United States
(713) 798-6100
Google Maps

Certifications

  • American Board of Ophthalmology

Education

  • MD from Baylor College Of Medicine
    05/2005 - Houston, TX United States
  • PhD from Baylor College Of Medicine
    12/2003 - Houston, TX United States
  • Fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine
    07/2010 - Houston, Texas United States

  • Residency at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
    06/2009 - Baltimore, Maryland United States

  • BA from Duke University
    05/1996 - Durham, North Carolina United States

Language

  • English

Gender

  • Male

Professional Statement

I am a clinician scientist ophthalmologist with advanced training in genetics, neuroscience, and glaucoma patient care. I am committed to improving our understanding of glaucoma, a potentially blinding neurodegenerative disease of the optic nerve and retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), which will hopefully lead to the development of new diagnostics and therapeutics. Accordingly, my primary basic research objectives are to understand the earliest events that occur in mice with experimental glaucoma (elevated intraocular pressure, or IOP) and to elucidate the mechanisms that govern RGC injury, resistance, and recovery. My lab assesses RGCs and interacting cell types with a variety of techniques such as electrophysiology, visual behavior testing, single cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq), and RGC isolation and culture. Current projects in my laboratory include: 1. Mechanisms of neurovascular unit dysfunction in early stage experimental glaucoma. We have discovered that retinal capillary plexi and a variety of neuronal cell types are differentially susceptible to IOP elevation. This projects aims to understand the mechanisms that underlie these relationships and how they may be altered to modify disease outcomes. 2. Mechanisms of RGC survival and neurite recovery in cell culture. Using a novel immunopanning + FACS based system, we can now isolate RGCs with exceptional fidelity. When these RGCs are cultured, we observe a wide range of survival and neurite extension phenotypes. This project aims to understand the intrinsic mechanisms that govern these RGC responses. 3. Gene expression changes in early stage experimental glaucoma. After exposure to mildly elevated IOP for a variety of durations we isolate RGCs using the same technique described above and perform scRNA-seq. By studying early stage disease, this project aims to identify RGC and RGC subtype specific targets that modulate disease onset and severity. 4. Mechanisms of neuroprotection in glaucoma. We are currently exploring neuroprotection in glaucoma in two ways. First, since some clinical evidence suggests that increased serotonin signaling is neuroprotective against glaucoma, we are assessing the virtually unstudied role of serotonin signaling in mouse retina, RGCs, and experimental glaucoma. Second, we are studying the molecular mechanism of brimonidine, a common IOP-lowering eye drop with known neuroprotective effects.

Professional Interests

  • Translational research
  • Basic research
  • Medical and surgical management of adult glaucoma

Physician Specialties

  • Ophthalmology

Professional Specialties

  • Glaucoma

Memberships

  • American Glaucoma Society
  • Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
  • American Academy of Ophthalmology

Websites