Michael Frohman, distinguished professor and chair of Pharmacological Sciences in the Renaissance School of Medicine, has been named a 2021 American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) Fellow, an achievement given to its most distinguished members. Selection as a fellow of ASPET is an honor bestowed on members who have demonstrated excellence via their overall contributions to pharmacology and to the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
Dr. Frohman graduated from the University of Michigan with a BS in chemistry before undertaking MD-PhD (immunology) training at the University of Pennsylvania. He was then a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco prior to becoming a faculty member in Stony Brook University’s Department of Pharmacological Sciences in 1992. At Stony brook he has initiated a molecular cloning university core, directed the medical pharmacology course for eight years, directed the NIH-funded MSTP (MD-PhD) training program since 2003, chaired Pharmacological Sciences since 2007, and served as associate director for education for the Cancer Center since 2018.
Dr. Frohman’s major research accomplishments include developing the 5′ RACE-PCR cloning protocol, the original publication of which has been cited more than 6,000 times, and cloning and characterizing the Phospholipase D (PLD) superfamily of lipid signaling enzymes, for which small molecule therapeutics are now in development to target thrombotic disease and cancer. The initial PLD cloning and inhibitor reports have been highly cited in connection to probing cellular, physiological and disease-impacting roles for PLD1 and PLD2. Recent publications involved collaborative efforts to determine the crystal structure of PLD1, which will facilitate inhibitor development, and identification of PLD1 mutations as a cause of congenital heart disease.
Continuously NIH-funded since 1993, Dr. Frohman has authored more than 200 reports and been recognized by election into the Association of American Physicians, as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as a member of the National Association of Inventors, and as a SUNY distinguished professor. He has trained more than 50 students and fellows (20 percent from backgrounds of diversity), most of whom have developed their own research-connected career paths.
Additional contributions to the discipline of pharmacology have included serving as a councilor and then president of the Association of Medical School Pharmacology Chairs and being on numerous NIH study sections for signal transduction and therapeutics topics. In addition, Dr. Frohman has served on the editorial boards for Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology (HEP), and the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (JPET). He has been a member of ASPET for 20 years, co-chairing a symposium and serving on the ASPET Awards Committee.
Mentoring has been a large component of Dr. Frohman’s efforts over the years. In addition to the trainees in his own lab, who have ranged from high school students to research assistant professors, he has overseen the recruitment, training and graduation of more than 130 MD-PhD students in his role as MSTP Director. Dr. Frohman has also recruited a dozen faculty to Pharmacological Sciences, all of whom were successful and subsequently promoted with tenure. He has also mentored many junior faculty in other departments across the medical school and life science departments. These activities were recognized with a School of Medicine Excellence in Faculty Mentoring Award.
ASPET is a scientific society founded in late 1908 by John Jacob Abel of Johns Hopkins University, with the aim of promoting the growth of pharmacological research. Many of the 4,800 society members are researchers in basic and clinical pharmacology who help develop disease-fighting medications and therapeutics.