Frederick Sparling, MD

Professor of Medicine Emeritus, School of Medicine
Director, Southeast Regional Center of Excellence for Emerging Infections and Biodefense
Director, NC Sexually Transmitted Diseases Cooperative Research Center

Frederick_SparlingPhone: (919) 843-8598
Fax: (919) 843-1015

130 Mason Farm Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7031


M.D., Harvard Medical School, 1962

Board Certifications

American Board of Internal Medicine, 1970
Subspecialty Boards of Infectious Disease, American Board of Internal Medicine, 1977

Clinical Interests

Dr Sparling attends regularly on the inpatient consult service but does not see new patients in the clinic

Research Summary

Dr. Sparling is interested in microbial pathogenesis, specifically how gonococci and related bacteria modulate their cell surface to enable infection of humans. This includes production of iron-regulated bacterial receptors for binding human tranferrin and lactoferrin as well as hemoglobin. Using a variety of approaches including molecular genetics, biochemistry, immunology and both animal and human models of infection, the roles of particular bacterial outer membrane proteins in various stages of infection are being delineated. Other efforts are directed at translating knowledge of bacterial surface proteins into a vaccine for gonorrhea, using recombinant proteins, DNA vaccines and viral vectors as well as animal models.

Dr. Sparling is interested in emerging infections and biodefense, and directs a large NIH funded regional center of excellence in biodefense and emerging infections (SERCEB), supporting investigators at many institutions in the SE and elsewhere who work on dengue viruses, alphaviruses, Coronaviruses, Yesinia and tularemia, and innate and adaptive immunity. He also directs another large NIH funded center on sexually transmitted infections (SE STI CRC), the prime focus of which is the pathogenesis and prevention of gonorrhea.


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