Frank C. Church, PhD, is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). He received his BS (1975) and MS (1978) degrees from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, a PhD (1982) from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at UNC in Chapel Hill (1982-1985).
He was on the School of Medicine (SOM) faculty at UNC-CH from 1986-2022 [with ranks of Research Assistant Professor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor (with tenure), and Professor (with tenure), respectively]. For more than 30 years, his research was focused on the protein biochemistry and pathophysiology of serine proteases and serine protease inhibitors in venous thrombosis (blood coagulation and fibrinolysis) and cancer (tumor cell chemotaxis, migration, and invasion).
In 2019, seven years after his diagnosis of Parkinson’s, he began a 3-year phased retirement program at UNC-CH and focused his time on the scholarship of Parkinson’s disease and STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Medicine) education. His teaching activities included senior undergraduates (Biology/ Pathology 426/426H “Biology of Blood Diseases,” where he was Course Director and sole lecturer from 1996-2022) and medical students [co-Block Director of Immunology (MTEC101.IMM) and co-Block Director of Hematology (MTEC101.HEM) from 1987-2020]. On June 30, 2022, after 39 years and 10 months at UNC-CH, he retired and became Professor Emeritus.
His life with Parkinson’s disease is presented in the blog “Journey with Parkinson’s” (https://journeywithparkinsons.com/). His recreation centers around playing golf for fun and exercise for treating Parkinson’s.
Recently, he started the Frank C. Church Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease, which has been approved as a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization. The Mission Statement: “To improve the quality of life for those with Parkinson’s disease and other brain disorders, support student training in the neurosciences, provide educational help and life-skills advice, and increase awareness of neurodegenerative diseases.”
Publications on Parkinson’s Disease from 2020-present:
Reuland, C.J. and Church, F.C., 2020. Synergy between plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, α-synuclein, and neuroinflammation in Parkinson’s disease. Medical Hypotheses, 138, p.109602.
Hribar, C.A., Cobbold, P.H. and Church, F.C., 2020. Potential role of vitamin D in the elderly to resist COVID-19 and to slow progression of Parkinson’s disease. Brain sciences, 10(5), p.284.
Hall, M.F.E. and Church, F.C., 2020. Integrative medicine and health therapy for Parkinson disease. Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, 36(3), pp.176-186.
Hall, M.F.E. and Church, F.C., 2020. Exercise for older adults improves the quality of life in Parkinson’s disease and potentially enhances the immune response to COVID-19. Brain Sciences, 10(9), p.612.
Church, F.C., 2021. Treatment options for motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Biomolecules, 11(4), p.612.
Bliss, R.R. and Church, F.C., 2021. Golf as a Physical Activity to Potentially Reduce the Risk of Falls in Older Adults with Parkinson’s Disease. Sports, 9(6), p.72.
Morowitz, J.M., Pogson, K.B., Roque, D.A. and Church, F.C., 2022. Role of SARS-CoV-2 in Modifying Neurodegenerative Processes in Parkinson’s Disease: A Narrative Review. Brain Sciences, 12(5), p.536.
Publications on STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Medicine) Education from 2020-present:
McGreevy, K.M. and Church, F.C., 2020. Active learning: Subtypes, intra-exam comparison, and student survey in an undergraduate biology course. Education Sciences, 10(7), p.185.
Church, F.C., 2021. Active Learning: Basic Science Workshops, Clinical Science Cases, and Medical Role-Playing in an Undergraduate Biology Course. Education Sciences, 11(8), p.370.
Tomasi, A.G., Belhorn, T. and Church, F.C., 2021. PRIME Immunology: Self-directed Introduction to Medical School Immunology. Medical Science Educator, 31(4), pp.1279-1282.
Church, F.C., Cooper, S.T., Fortenberry, Y.M., Glasscock, L.N. and Hite, R., 2021. Useful Teaching Strategies in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine) Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Education Sciences, 11(11), p.752.
Representative Research Publications from 1982-2019:
Church, F.C., Swaisgood, H.E., Porter, D.H. and Catignani, G.L., 1983. Spectrophotometric assay using o-phthaldialdehyde for determination of proteolysis in milk and isolated milk proteins. Journal of dairy science, 66(6), pp.1219-1227.
Church, F.C., Pratt, C.W. and Hoffman, M., 1991. Leukocyte chemoattractant peptides from the serpin heparin cofactor II. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 266(2), pp.704-709.
Pratt, C.W., Whinna, H.C. and Church, F.C., 1992. A comparison of three heparin-binding serine proteinase inhibitors. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 267(13), pp.8795-8801.
Whinna, H.C., Choi, H.U., Rosenberg, L.C. and Church, F.C., 1993. Interaction of heparin cofactor II with biglycan and decorin. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 268(6), pp.3920-3924.
Kounnas, M.Z., Church, F.C., Argraves, W.S. and Strickland, D.K., 1996. Cellular internalization and degradation of antithrombin III-thrombin, heparin cofactor II-thrombin, and α1-antitrypsin-trypsin complexes is mediated by the low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 271(11), pp.6523-6529.
Shirk, R.A., Church, F.C. and Wagner, W.D., 1996. Arterial smooth muscle cell heparan sulfate proteoglycans accelerate thrombin inhibition by heparin cofactor II. Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology, 16(9), pp.1138-1146.
Holland, C.A., Henry, A.T., Whinna, H.C. and Church, F.C., 2000. Effect of oligodeoxynucleotide thrombin aptamer on thrombin inhibition by heparin cofactor II and antithrombin. FEBS letters, 484(2), pp.87-91.
Silverman, G.A., Bird, P.I., Carrell, R.W., Church, F.C., Coughlin, P.B., Gettins, P.G., Irving, J.A., Lomas, D.A., Luke, C.J., Moyer, R.W. and Pemberton, P.A., 2001. The serpins are an expanding superfamily of structurally similar but functionally diverse proteins. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 276(36), pp.33293-33296.
Palmieri, D., Lee, J.W., Juliano, R.L. and Church, F.C., 2002. Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 and-3 increase cell adhesion and motility of MDA-MB-435 breast cancer cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 277(43), pp.40950-40957.
Fortenberry, Y.M., Whinna, H.C., Gentry, H.R., Myles, T., Leung, L.L. and Church, F.C., 2004. Molecular mapping of the thrombin-heparin cofactor II complex. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 279(41), pp.43237-43244.
Glasscock, L.N., Réhault, S.M., Gregory, C.W., Cooper, S.T., Jackson, T.P., Hoffman, M. and Church, F.C., 2005. Protein C inhibitor (plasminogen activator inhibitor-3) expression in the CWR22 prostate cancer xenograft. Experimental and molecular pathology, 79(1), pp.23-32.
Beaulieu, L.M. and Church, F.C., 2007. Activated protein C promotes breast cancer cell migration through interactions with EPCR and PAR-1. Experimental cell research, 313(4), pp.677-687.
Whitley, B.R., Beaulieu, L.M., Carter, J.C. and Church, F.C., 2007. Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt regulates the balance between plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 and urokinase to promote migration of SKOV-3 ovarian cancer cells. Gynecologic oncology, 104(2), pp.470-479.
Rau, J.C., Beaulieu, L.M., Huntington, J.A. and Church, F.C., 2007. Serpins in thrombosis, hemostasis and fibrinolysis. Journal of thrombosis and haemostasis, 5, pp.102-115.
Rau, J.C., Deans, C., Hoffman, M.R., Thomas, D.B., Malcom, G.T., Zieske, A.W., Strong, J.P., Koch, G.G. and Church, F.C., 2009. Heparin cofactor II in atherosclerotic lesions from the pathobiological determinants of atherosclerosis in youth (PDAY) study. Experimental and molecular pathology, 87(3), pp.178-183.
Carter, J.C., Campbell, R.A., Gibbons, J.A., Gramling, M.W., Wolberg, A.S. and Church, F.C., 2010. Enhanced cell‐associated plasminogen activator pathway but not coagulation pathway activity contributes to motility in metastatic breast cancer cells. Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, 8(6), pp.1323-1332.
Cardenas, J.C., Owens III, A.P., Krishnamurthy, J., Sharpless, N.E., Whinna, H.C. and Church, F.C., 2011. Overexpression of the cell cycle inhibitor p16INK4a promotes a prothrombotic phenotype following vascular injury in mice. Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology, 31(4), pp.827-833.
Machlus, K.R., Cardenas, J.C., Church, F.C. and Wolberg, A.S., 2011. Causal relationship between hyperfibrinogenemia, thrombosis, and resistance to thrombolysis in mice. Blood, The Journal of the American Society of Hematology, 117(18), pp.4953-4963.
Rein, C.M., Desai, U.R. and Church, F.C., 2011. Serpin–glycosaminoglycan interactions. In Methods in Enzymology (Vol. 501, pp. 105-137). Academic Press.
Carter, J.C. and Church, F.C., 2012. Mature breast adipocytes promote breast cancer cell motility. Experimental and molecular pathology, 92(3), pp.312-317.
Church, F.C., Cunningham, D.D., Ginsburg, D., Hoffman, M.R., Stone, S.R. and Tollefsen, D.M. eds., 2012. Chemistry and biology of serpins (Vol. 425). Springer Science & Business Media.
Rein-Smith, C.M. and Church, F.C., 2014. Emerging pathophysiological roles for fibrinolysis. Current Opinion in Hematology, 21(5), pp.438-444.
Cardenas, J.C., Rein-Smith, C.M. and Church, F.C., 2016. Overview of blood coagulation and the pathophysiology of blood coagulation disorders. Reference Module in Biomedical Sciences, from Encyclopedia of Cell Biology, Volume 1, pp 714-722.
Antoniak, S., Cardenas, J.C., Buczek, L.J., Church, F.C., Mackman, N. and Pawlinski, R., 2017. Protease-activated receptor 1 contributes to angiotensin II-induced cardiovascular remodeling and inflammation. Cardiology, 136(4), pp.258-268
Publication on Directing an Academic Research Laboratory:
Church, F.C., 2022. Suggestions on leading an academic research laboratory group. Open Life Sciences, 17(1), pp.599-609.