Frank Arfuso


  • The University of Western Australia (M309), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

Personal profile


While working full time as a dental practitioner, I completed a PGDipSc and went on to further part-time studies and was awarded a PhD in 2003. Having gained valuable research skills in histology, immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy, I became an Honorary Research Fellow in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry in 2004. Because of limited research opportunities in Western Australia, and raising a family, I continued working as a full-time dentist while donating my time outside of work hours to furthering knowledge in vascular biology as it pertains to tooth development. This led to a sole author paper in 2006 that promoted the use of human teeth as an in vivo model for the study of physiologic angiogenesis. In 2009 I became a Senior Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Anatomy and Human Biology within the Faculty of Life and Physical Sciences.
Thesis ‘A morphologic study of physiologic angiogenesis using the corpus luteum of the pregnant rat as an in vivo model’.
The investigation of the structural events contributing to angiogenesis has a widespread application to understanding tumour growth, inflammation, wound healing and a variety of other diseases where abnormal vascular development is the dominant pathology.
Not only did my investigations provide a detailed account of the cellular pattern of physiologic angiogenesis, it was also coupled to a stereologic study, which related the growth of the capillaries within the corpus luteum to development of that tissue as a transient endocrine organ. This involved relating alterations in endothelial cell shape, surface area of endothelial cell membrane available for trans-capillary exchange and thinness of the endothelium to the functional demand of the surrounding steroid-secreting luteal cells.
Novel findings reported in my thesis were that, in the pregnant rat corpus luteum,
i) Pericytes precede endothelial during vascularisation of the corpus luteum.
ii) Pericytes can contribute to the developing vessel wall during angiogenesis.
iii) Apoptosis does not affect endothelial cells and pericytes up to day 22 (parturition) of pregnancy.

Future research

The influence of secreted frizzled-related protein 4 on cancer stem cells

Funding overview

Australian Dental Research Foundation

Current projects

The role of sFRP4 in blocking cancer growth







Awarded Clarivate's Highly Cited Researcher in 2021 and 2022


I have collaborated with ten research groups within Australia and globally. The fields of study included human reproduction, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, pancreas, eye development and disease, lipids, Wnt signalling, angiogenesis, natural products and their health benefits/applications, ageing, cancer stem cells, secreted frizzled-related protein 4, and the microencapsulation of drugs to treat diabetes.

The outcome of my collaboration has led to 120 scientific papers being published in top tier journals over a span of 5 years.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water

Education/Academic qualification

Biology, PhD, A Morphologic Study of Physiologic Angiogenesis using the Corpus Luteum of the Pregnant Rat as an in vivo model, The University of Western Australia

Award Date: 20 Mar 2003

Human Biology, PGDipSci, The University of Western Australia

Award Date: 25 Aug 1994

Dentistry, BDSc, The University of Western Australia

Award Date: 15 Apr 1980

Research expertise keywords

  • Transmission electron microscopy, angiogenesis, cancer, reproductive biology, microencapsulation of drugs, natural compounds, lymphangiogenesis, ophthalmology, stem cells, sFRP4, Wnt signalling


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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