Frans Walther, MD, PhD, FAAP

Frans Walther, MD, PhD, FAAP

Investigator, The Lundquist Institute
Professor of Pediatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA


Synthetic lung surfactant for treatment of breathing problems in premature infants

Research Description

Dr. Walther leads a multi-dimensional research project aimed at developing a synthetic lung surfactant to treat breathing problems in preterm infants with surfactant-deficiency and lung immaturity (respiratory distress syndrome, RDS) and in (near)term infants with surfactant inactivation due to meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS). Synthetic surfactant treatment may also be beneficial in children and adults with surfactant insufficiency caused by pneumonia or chemical lung injury (acute respiratory distress syndrome, ARDS). His research is an essential element of the rescue treatment for infants, children and adults in respiratory distress.
Dr. Walther’s lab seeks to design, synthesize, and bring effective lung surfactant peptides, modeled after the sequence of human surfactant proteins B and C (SP-B and SP-C) to clinical care. Additionally, he is working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation towards developing an advanced lung surfactant preparation for aerosol delivery that would eliminate the need for intubation.
Research Interests


  • MD, 1972, Leiden University, the Netherlands
  • PhD, 1982, Maastricht University, the Netherlands

Recent and/or Significant Publications

Walther FJ, Gupta M, Lipp MM, Chan H, Krzewick J, Gordon LM, Waring AJ. Aerosol delivery of dry powder synthetic lung surfactant to surfactant-deficient rabbits and preterm lambs on non-invasive respiratory support. Gates Open Res. 2019;3:6.
Waring AJ, Gupta M, Gordon LM, Fujii G, Walther FJ. Stability of an amphipathic helix-hairpin surfactant peptide in liposomes. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016;1858(12):3113-3119.
Walther FJ, Hernández-Juviel JM, Waring AJ. Aerosol delivery of synthetic lung surfactant. PeerJ. 2014;2:e403.
Walther FJ, Waring AJ, Hernandez-Juviel JM, Gordon LM, Wang Z, Jung CL, Ruchala P, Clark AP, Smith WM, Sharma S, Notter RH. Critical structural and functional roles for the N-terminal insertion sequence in surfactant protein B analogs. PLoS One. 2010;5(1):e8672.