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Frank F. Tu


Frank F. Tu, MD, MPH

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Director, Division of Gynecological Pain and Minimally Invasive Surgery

Contact Information
847.926.6544
847.926.6545 fax
ftu@northshore.org

Education

  • Undergraduate: BA, Psychology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
  • Medical School:  MD, University of Alabama School of Medicine, Birmingham, AL.
  • Residency:  OB/GYN, Prentice Women’s Hospital, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL.
  • Fellowship:  Advanced Gynecologic Surgery, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.

I am the division director for NorthShore’s minimally invasive surgery program in gynecology, with a research interest in chronic pelvic pain, currently funded on an R01 to study dysmenorrhea and bladder pain mechanisms. I was previously funded on a K23 and currently on an ongoing U01 grant (MAPP). As a board-certified gynecologist specializing in pain management and minimally invasive surgery, I am particularly interested in identifying modifiable causes of pain, including perioperative pain. My current research seeks to decipher the relationship between somatic and visceral factors in pelvic pain conditions.

Through my MPH and subsequent clinical research, I have gained the experience necessary to conduct clinical and epidemiological research in the field of pelvic pain. We have conducted recruitment for observational cohorts of CPP and pain free controls during my K23 support period, yielding preliminary data that have been presented at meetings, with one publication accepted and more manuscripts under preparation. My research team’s additional expertise in recruiting participants for my K23, our current R01 and the larger MAPP U01 has helped us create a broad network of community-based clinicians and other venues necessary for recruiting potential research participants with pelvic and menstrual pain.


 

1.    Tu FF, Hellman KM, Backonja MM. Gynecologic management of neuropathic pain. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Nov;205(5):435-43. PubMed PMID: 21777899; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3205239.

2.    Tu FF, Epstein AE, Pozolo KE, Sexton DL, Melnyk AI, Hellman KM. A noninvasive bladder sensory test supports a role for dysmenorrhea increasing bladder noxious mechanosensitivity. Clin J Pain. 2013 Oct;29(10):883-90. PubMed PMID: 23370073; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3644544.

3.    Westling AM, Tu FF, Griffith JW, Hellman KM. The association of dysmenorrhea with noncyclic pelvic pain accounting for psychological factors. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Nov;209(5):422.e1-422.e10. PubMed PMID: 23973396; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4191839.

4.    Hellman KM, Patanwala IY, Pozolo KE, Tu FF. Multimodal nociceptive mechanisms underlying chronic pelvic pain. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Aug 20;PubMed PMID: 26299416.

B. Positions and Honors

Positions and Employment

2004 -

Division Director, Northshore University HealthSystem, Evanston, IL

2004 - 2009

Assistant Professor, Northwestern University, Dept of Ob/Gyn, Chicago, IL

2005 - 2009

Assistant Professor, Northwestern University, Dept of Phys Med & Rehab, Chicago, IL

2009 - 2012

Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Chicago, Dept of Ob/Gyn, Chicago, IL

2013 -

Clinical Associate Professor, University of Chicago, Dept of Ob/Gyn, Chicago, IL

Other Experience and Professional Memberships

2004 -

Member, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

2006 -

Member, American College of Surgeons

2009 - 2009

Ad hoc member, NIH Somatosensory and Chemosensory Systems study section

2009 - 2011

Scientific program chair, International Pelvic Pain Society

2010 - 2010

Ad hoc member, American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program Clinical Trials panel

2010 - 2010

Member, Special Emphasis Panel/Scientific Review Group 2010/10 ZRG1 IFCN-E (04) M meeting

2010 - 2012

Treasurer, Abdominal and Pelvic Pain SIG, International Association for the Study of Pain

2013 - 2015

Pain and Bleeding working group co-chair, ACOG reVITALize data definition standardization taskforce

2014 - 2014

President (and VP, Secretary, Treasurer 2011-2013), International Pelvic Pain Society

2014 - 2016

Chair, Abdominal and Pelvic Pain SIG, International Association for the Study of Pain

Honors

1992

Inductee, Phi Beta Kappa

1995

Research Scholars Program, Howard Hughes Medical Institute-National Institutes of Health

1997

Inductee, Alpha Omega Alpha

2004

Women’s Auxiliary Research Scholar, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare

2006

Research Career Development Award, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare

2008

Gifts and Grants Research Award, Alumnae of Northwestern University

2010

Highest ranked poster in category, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Annual Clinical Meeting

2012

Award for the Best Abstract on Pelvic Pain, “Enhanced Pain Sensitivity among Women with Chronic Pelvic Pain and Dysmenorrhea”, AAGL Global Congress

2013

Award for the Best Abstract on Pelvic Pain, “Anxiety, Sleep, Pain Sensitivity and the Response to Laparoscopic Management of Pelvic Pain”, AAGL Global Congress

2014

International Pelvic Pain Society Outstanding Research Presentation Award, IPPS (also 2006, 2009, 2010, 2013)

C. Contribution to Science

1.    Pelvic floor and bladder pain sensitivity in painful bladder syndrome (PBS): For my career development award, I did some of the initial quantitative sensory testing studies of the female pelvic floor. Prior to this, there were no validated measures of pain sensitivity in this area. Examples of the most significant papers are below, which include initial validation, identification of differences between women with chronic pelvic pain or PBS, and findings of key confounders of QST measurement (age and parity). In addition, our noninvasive bladder pain measure, provoked pain following augmented natural diuresis, is being used by the NIH MAPP network for its brain imaging experiments. The collaboration has spread now to include another NIH grant with Dr. Thomas Chelimsky on autonomic regulation in PBS.

a.    Tu FF, Fitzgerald CM, Kuiken T, Farrell T, Harden RN. Comparative measurement of pelvic floor pain sensitivity in chronic pelvic pain. Obstet Gynecol. 2007 Dec;110(6):1244-8. PubMed PMID: 18055716.

b.    Tu FF, Fitzgerald CM, Kuiken T, Farrell T, Norman Harden R. Vaginal pressure-pain thresholds: initial validation and reliability assessment in healthy women. Clin J Pain. 2008 Jan;24(1):45-50. PubMed PMID: 18180636.

c.     Tu FF, Epstein AE, Pozolo KE, Sexton DL, Melnyk AI, Hellman KM. A noninvasive bladder sensory test supports a role for dysmenorrhea increasing bladder noxious mechanosensitivity. Clin J Pain. 2013 Oct;29(10):883-90. PubMed PMID: 23370073; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3644544.

d.    Westling AM, Tu FF, Griffith JW, Hellman KM. The association of dysmenorrhea with noncyclic pelvic pain accounting for psychological factors. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Nov;209(5):422.e1-422.e10. PubMed PMID: 23973396; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4191839.

 

 

2.    Dysmenorrhea and future risk of chronic pelvic pain/painful bladder syndrome: Our current R01 is a longitudinal mechanistic clinical trial that seeks to phenotype women with dysmenorrhea and silent bladder pain using the noninvasive bladder test previously developed on my career development award. The proposed intervention, oral contraceptive pills, is anticipated to reduce bladder pain sensitivity in women who do not yet exhibit features of central sensitization. The phenotyping measures include CPM, QST, TS, psychological measures, and EEG to assess broad sensory sensitivity. Preliminary papers related to this ongoing study are listed below.

a.    Bettendorf B, Shay S, Tu F. Dysmenorrhea: contemporary perspectives. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2008 Sep;63(9):597-603. PubMed PMID: 18713479.

b.    Tu FF, Epstein AE, Pozolo KE, Sexton DL, Melnyk AI, Hellman KM. A noninvasive bladder sensory test supports a role for dysmenorrhea increasing bladder noxious mechanosensitivity. Clin J Pain. 2013 Oct;29(10):883-90. PubMed PMID: 23370073; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3644544.

c.     Westling AM, Tu FF, Griffith JW, Hellman KM. The association of dysmenorrhea with noncyclic pelvic pain accounting for psychological factors. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Nov;209(5):422.e1-422.e10. PubMed PMID: 23973396; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4191839.

d.    Tu FF, Du H, Goldstein GP, Beaumont JL, Zhou Y, Brown WJ. The influence of prior oral contraceptive use on risk of endometriosis is conditional on parity. Fertil Steril. 2014 Jun;101(6):1697-704. PubMed PMID: 24666753.

Complete List of Published Work in My Bibliography (27 total publications):
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/frank.tu.1/bibliography/40939226/public/?sort=date&direction=ascending

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