The UAB Department of Medicine has newly appointed three faculty to serve as Executive Vice Chair, Vice Chair for Research, and Vice Chair for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research. These vital leaders, along with four other Vice Chairs, help guide our diverse and productive faculty in our mission to maximize health and eliminate suffering by caring for people, teaching, and creating knowledge.

Executive Vice Chair:
Stuart J. Frank, M.D.

Stuart J. Frank, MDStuart J. Frank, M.D., is Professor of Medicine and Cell, Developmental, and Integrative Biology and the Ruth Lawson Hanson Chair of Medicine in Diabetes and Metabolism. He is an internationally known molecular endocrinologist who has led an NIH- and VA-funded research group in the areas of cellular growth hormone (GH) and prolactin (PRL) action in health and disease for the past twenty-five years.

Dr. Frank is also Director of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism and Chief of the Endocrinology Section of the Medical Service at Birmingham VA Medical Center. In these roles, Dr. Frank leads a vibrant group of twenty-three faculty that includes outstanding endocrinologists, investigators, and educators. The division hosts an excellent fellowship program and has close associations with numerous clinical and scientific units across the UAB academic health center. Dr. Frank is also co-Director of the UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Science. Prior to being appointed Executive Vice Chair, he served as Vice Chair for Research.

Dr. Frank’s research has focused on aspects of GH receptor and PRL receptor structure and function. His work on receptor activation mechanisms has revealed several novel insights that have important impact on our understanding of GH and PRL physiology and pathology. Dr. Frank’s lab has also developed antagonistic monoclonal antibodies against GH receptor and PRL receptor that may be promising as breast cancer therapeutics.

Dr. Frank has served on several NIH study sections and on editorial boards of Endocrinology, Molecular Endocrinology, and the Journal of the Endocrine Society. At UAB, Dr. Frank has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards and the UAB Graduate School Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentorship.

After undergraduate studies as a Benjamin Franklin Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Frank earned a medical degree from Harvard Medical School and pursued internal medicine residency at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. From 1987-1991, Dr. Frank was a Medical Staff Fellow in the Inter-institute Endocrine Training Program of NIDDK/NICHD and Senior Staff Fellow in the Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch of NICHD at the Bethesda campus. He has been a faculty member at UAB since 1991.

Vice Chair for Research:
Victor J. Thannickal, M.D.

Victor J. Thannickal, MDVictor J. Thannickal, M.D., is Professor of Medicine and the Ben Vaughan Branscomb Chair of Medicine in Respiratory Disease. Following his fellowship training at Tufts University School of Medicine, he has held faculty positions at Tufts, University of Michigan, and UAB, where he currently serves as Director of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine. Under his leadership, the division has grown to over 65 faculty members and expanded its research and educational programs, including the institution of a highly successful NIH T32 Training Program in Lung Biology and Translational Medicine. He has a passion for mentoring and team-building. Trainees from his laboratory have moved on to independent careers at academic institutions around the U.S., including the University of Michigan, Indiana University, University of Arizona, and the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Thannickal’s research is focused on cellular and molecular mechanisms of lung repair and regeneration. This work has advanced fundamental understanding of myofibroblast origins, differentiation, and survival in pulmonary fibrosis. The clinical impact of his work is evidenced by current and emerging anti-fibrotic therapies in pre-clinical/clinical development. His laboratory was the first to identify an essential role for NADPH oxidase-4 in organ fibrosis, and has elucidated mechanisms by which redox imbalance and metabolic alterations contribute to age-dependent susceptibility to fibrosis. Active studies are focused on elucidating mechanisms of cellular senescence, oxidative stress and aging in the context of chronic lung diseases, in concert with the development of therapeutics and biomarkers for complex lung diseases. His research program is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Dr. Thannickal is an elected member of American Association of Physicians, and he received the American Thoracic Society Recognition Award for Scientific Accomplishments in 2016. He currently serves on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, and the American Journal of Pathology. He is an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology.

Vice Chair for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research: Kenneth G. Saag, MD, MSc

Kenneth G. Saag, MD, MScKenneth G. Saag, MD, MSc, is the Jane Knight Lowe Professor of Medicine, Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology. He is a native of Chicago, and following studies in engineering at the University of Michigan, he returned to Chicago for medical school, Internal Medicine Residency, and Chief Residency at Northwestern University. He then traveled to the University of Iowa for his rheumatology and epidemiology training and remained on the faculty there until moving to UAB in 1998.

Dr. Saag is the founding Director of the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) Deep South Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics, the UAB Center of Research Translation in Gout and Hyperuricemia, and the UAB Outcomes Research Center. He is principal investigator of an AHRQ-funded T32 in Health Services, Outcomes, and Effectiveness Research, an AHRQ-funded K12 in Patient Centered Outcomes Research and the NIH funded TL1, and a KL2 connected to the UAB Center for Clinical and Transalational Science (CCTS). He completed two five-year funding cycles of a K24 Mid-Career Award in Patient Oriented Research. He has been primary or secondary mentor for over 35 trainees, and he is the recipient of the American College of Rheumatology 2013 Excellence in Investigative Mentoring Award. He has published over 300 peer reviewed manuscripts, and he has authored more than 100 reviews, editorials, and book chapters, including the first edition of the clinical handbook Diagnosis and Management of Osteoporosis.

Dr. Saag serves as President on the Board of Trustees of the National Osteoporosis Foundation, is on the Gout and Uric Acid Society Board of Directors, and has served on the Board of Directors of the American College of Rheumatology.