Richard Frothingham, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine
Assistant Professor in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Member of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute
Campus mail 2424 Erwin Rd, Hock Plaza Room 9089, Durham, NC 27710
Phone (919) 684-5455
Email address

Dr. Frothingham is the principal investigator of a research laboratory which studies Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the cause of tuberculosis, and Mycobacterium avium, a closely related bacterium causing serious infections in AIDS patients. We are pursuing two current projects.

The first project aims to develop vaccines against M. avium and M. tuberculosis. We inject mice with candidate plasmid DNA vaccines which produce bacterial proteins in mouse muscle. We use a variety of DNA adjuvants to modify the immune response. We hope to use DNA vaccination to protect against new infections and to modify the course of existing infections. We also hope to identify correlates of vaccine-induced protective immunity.

The second project uses variations in bacterial DNA sequences to identify species and strains. Dr. Frothingham was part of a team of four Duke scientists who used DNA sequence analysis to identify the cause of Whipple's disease. He also identified used DNA sequence to identify a particular group of M. avium strains which cause disseminated infections in AIDS patients. We recently developed a new tuberculosis typing method using variable numbers of tandem DNA repeats. We are applying this new typing method in national and international collaborations.

Dr. Frothingham does not currently conduct clinical trials.

Special areas of expertise include tuberculosis, mycobacteria, strain differentiation, DNA vaccination, and pyrazinamide.

Key words: tuberculosis, mycobacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium avium, DNA vaccines, tandem repeat DNA, pyrazinamide, mouse

Education and Training

  • Medicine and Pediatrics Resident, Medicine, University of Rochester, 1982 - 1986
  • M.D., Duke University, 1981


Gopal, Indulekha N., Anita Quinn, Stanley C. Henry, John D. Hamilton, Herman F. Staats, and Richard Frothingham. “Nasal peptide vaccination elicits CD8 responses and reduces viral burden after challenge with virulent murine cytomegalovirus..” Microbiol Immunol 49, no. 2 (2005): 113–19.

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Anderson, Albert M. L., Jay B. Varkey, Cathy A. Petti, Rodger A. Liddle, Richard Frothingham, and Christopher W. Woods. “Non-O1 Vibrio cholerae septicemia: case report, discussion of literature, and relevance to bioterrorism..” Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis 49, no. 4 (August 2004): 295–97.

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Frothingham, R. “"Me-too" products--friend or foe?.” The New England Journal of Medicine 350, no. 20 (May 13, 2004): 2100-2101;authorreply2100.


Frothingham, R. “"Me-too" products--friend or foe?.” The New England Journal of Medicine 350, no. 20 (January 1, 2004).


Butterfield, Marian I., Hayden B. Bosworth, Karen M. Stechuchak, Richard Frothingham, Lori A. Bastian, Keith G. Meador, Marvin Swartz, and Ron D. Horner. “Racial differences in hepatitis B and hepatitis C and associated risk behaviors in veterans with severe mental illness..” J Natl Med Assoc 96, no. 1 (January 2004): 43–52.


Frothingham, Richard. “Lipid formulations of amphotericin B for empirical treatment of fever and neutropenia..” Clin Infect Dis 35, no. 7 (October 1, 2002): 896–97.

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Quinn, Anita, Weiwen Jiang, Maria Velaz-Faircloth, Alison J. Cobb, Stanley C. Henry, and Richard Frothingham. “In vivo protein expression and immune responses generated by DNA vaccines expressing mycobacterial antigens fused with a reporter protein..” Vaccine 20, no. 25–26 (August 19, 2002): 3187–92.

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Frothingham, R. “Torsades de pointes associated with fluoroquinolones - Reply.” Pharmacotherapy 22, no. 5 (May 1, 2002): 668–72.