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Walter E. Finkbeiner, MD, PhD

Research and Clinical Interests

My major clinical interests include autopsy pathology, fetal pathology, forensic medicine and pulmonary pathology. My basic research interest focuses on the pathology and pathophysiology of the chronic airway diseases, particularly cystic fibrosis (CF), chronic bronchitis and asthma. Using in vitro models of airway surface epithelial and gland cells along with human tissue samples, our laboratory studies differentiation of the airway epithelium, regulation of airway secretion, composition of respiratory mucus, and mechanisms underlying airway gland hyperplasia. We also develop airway cell models for high throughput screening and CF drug discovery.

Selected Publications

  • Sun DI, Tasca A, Haas M, Baltazar G,Harland RM, Finkbeiner WE, Walented P. Na+/H+ Exchangers are required for the development and function of vertebrate mucociliary epithelia. Cells Tissues Organs. 2018 (in press).
  • Phuan PW, Son JH, Tan JA, Li C, Musante I, Zlock L, Nielson DW, Finkbeiner WE, Kurth MJ, Galietta LJ, Haggie PM, Verkman AS. Combination potentiator ('co-potentiator') therapy for CF caused by CFTR mutants, including N1303K, that are poorly responsive to single potentiators. J Cyst Fibros 17:595-606, 2018.
  • Sun DI, Tasca A, Haas M, Baltazar G,Harland RM, Finkbeiner WE, Walented P. Na+/H+ Exchangers are required for the development and function of vertebrate mucociliary epithelia. Cells Tissues Organs. 2018 (in press).
  • Phuan PW, Veit G, Tan JA, Roldan A, Finkbeiner WE, Haggie PM, Lukacs GL, Verkman AS. ΔF508-CFTR Modulator Screen Based on Cell Surface Targeting of a Chimeric Nucleotide Binding Domain 1 Reporter. SLAS Discov.23(8):823-831. doi: 10.1177/2472555218763310. Epub 2018
  • Lachowicz-Scroggins ME, Finkbeiner WE, Gordon ED, Yuan S, Zlock L, Bhakta NR, Woodruff PG, Fahy JV, Boushey HA. Corticosteroid and long-acting ß-agonist therapy reduces epithelial goblet cell metaplasia. Clin Exp Allergy. 47:1534-1545, 2017.
  • McGarry ME, Illek B, Ly NP, Zlock L, Olshansky S, Moreno C, Finkbeiner WE, Nielson DW. In vivo and in vitro ivacaftor response in cystic fibrosis patients with residual CFTR function: N-of-1 studies. Pediatr Pulmonol. 52:472-479, 2017.
  • Haggie PM, Phuan PW, Tan JA, Xu H, Avramescu RG, Perdomo D, Zlock L, Nielson DW, Finkbeiner WE, Lukacs GL, Verkman AS. Correctors and potentiators rescue function of the truncated W1282X-Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Regulator (CFTR) translation product. J Biol Chem 292:771-785, 2017.
  • Boecking CA, Drey EA, Kerns JL, Finkbeiner WE: Correlation of prenatal diagnosis and pathology findings following dilation and evacuation for fetal anomalies. Arch Pathol Lab Med 141:267-73, 2016.
  • Bonser LR, Zlock L, Finkbeiner W, Erle DF: Epithelial tethering of MUC5AC-rich mucus impairs mucociliary transport in asthma. J Clin Invest 126:2367-71, 2016.
  • Haggie PM, Phuan P-W, Tan J-A, Zlock L, Finkbeiner WE, Verkman AS: Inhibitors of pendrin anion exchange identified in a small molecule screen increase airway surface volume in cystic fibrosis. FASEB J 30(6):2187-97, 2016.
  • Phaun PW, Veit G, Tan J, Finkbeiner WE, Lukacs G, Verkman AS: Potentiators of defective ∆F508-CFTR channel gating that do not interfere with corrector action. Mol Pharmacol 88:791-799, 2016.
  • Zhang L, Gallup M, Zlock L, Chen L, Finkbeiner WE, McNamara NA: Pivotal role of MUC1 glycosylation by cigarette smoke in modulating disruption of airway adherens junctions in vitro. J Pathol. 234:60-73, 2014.
  • Veit G, Avramescu R, Perdomo D, Phuan P-W, Bagdany M, Apaja PM, Borot F, Szollosi D, Finkbeiner WE, Hegedus T, Verkman AS, Lukacs GL: Some gating potentiators, including VX-770, diminish ∆F508-CFTR functional expression. Sci Trans Med. 6(246):246ra97, 2014.
  • DeMartinis NC, Finkbeiner WE: Less toxic method for producing giant paper organ sections for pathology and anatomy education. Pathol Lab Med Int 6:41-45, 2014.
  • Herring MJ, Putney LF, Wyatt G, Finkbeiner WE, Hyde DM: Growth. Growth of alveoli during postnatal development in humans based on stereological estimation. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 307:L338


  • Connolly AJ, Finkbeiner WE, Ursell PC, Davis RL: Autopsy Pathology: A Manual and Atlas, 3rd edition. Elsevier, 2016.

Additional Information

  • Professor Emeritus
  • Pathology

Specialty Area

Autopsy pathology; Fetal Pathology; Experimental Pathology

Contact Information

Mailing/Shipping Address:

  • UCSF
  • Walter E. Finkbeiner, MD, PhD
  • ZSFG, Building 3, Room 205B
  • 1001 Potrero Ave.
  • San Francisco, CA 94110

Hospital Affiliation(s)

  • Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital & Trauma Center
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