Frank is Professor of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health. He is also Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a senior attending physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he has had a specialty clinic in hyperlipidemia with the cardiovascular division. He is involved in research and public policy in nutrition, cholesterol disorders, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.
His research program is a combination of laboratory research on human lipoprotein metabolism, and clinical trials in nutrition and cardiovascular disease. The laboratory research concerns the acute and long-term eﬀects of dietary and drug treatments on the function of lipoproteins including VLDL, LDL and HDL in humans; and biochemical epidemiology of lipoprotein particle types and CVD. His group recently discovered that a type of HDL that contains apolipoprotein C-III predicted higher rates of heart disease, the opposite to the protective relation for the total HDL. He was Chair of the Design Committee of the DASH study where the DASH diet was designed, and Chair of the Steering Committee for the DASH-Sodium trial. These multi-center National Heart Lung and Blood Institute trials found major beneﬁcial additive eﬀects of low salt and a dietary pattern rich in fruits and vegetables on blood pressure. Frank also was Co-Chair of the OmniHeart Trial, a multicenter feeding trial that found that a variation of the DASH diet that is higher in protein or unsaturated fat diets further improved blood pressure and lipid risk factors compared to the lower fat DASH-type diet. He was Principal Investigator of an NIH funded trial on dietary approaches for weight loss and maintenance, the PoundsLost trial. In this trial, 4 diets varying in protein, carbohydrate and fat content were tested in 811 overweight people for 2 years. The diets had the same beneﬁcial eﬀects on weight loss, and all favorably aﬀected risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Dr. Sacks is principal investigator of a new trial that is evaluating the eﬀect of carbohydrate, type and amount, on insulin resistance and cardiovascular risk factors. He recently published a clinical review on dietary treatment of hypertension in the New England Journal of Medicine. This review emphasized that optimizing diet quality, including sodium reduction, can eliminate the age-related rise in blood pressure with age in just 4 weeks, as shown in new analyses in the DASH-Sodium trial.
Frank is active in national and international committees and conferences in dietary and drug treatments of dyslipidemia, and nutrition and health guidelines. He is Chair of the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee which advises the AHA on nutrition policy. He was a member of the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel IV, the NIH advisory group that is developing new guidelines for treatment of dyslipidemia. He was a member of the Hypertriglyceridemia Guidelines Committee of the Endocrine Society. He is a member of the Lifestyle Working Group of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Clinical Guidelines for Reducing Cardiovascular Disease. He teaches at Harvard School of Public Health as course director for nutritional biochemistry and for scientiﬁc writing, and at Brigham & Women’s Hospital on treatment of lipid disorders. He received the 2011 Research Achievement Award of the American Heart Association and has published 175 original research articles and 72 reviews, editorials, and letters.