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Aime T. Franco, PhD
Aime T. Franco
Director, Pediatric Translational Thyroid Cancer Laboratory

Dr. Franco researches the molecular basis of the differences between pediatric and adult onset thyroid cancer. She aims to understand how the tumor microenvironment impacts disease progression and response to therapy.



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Dr. Franco has demonstrated a record of accomplished, consistent, and productive research projects in the field of carcinogenesis. In addition to translational research, she seeks opportunities to work with patient and advocate communities to improve cancer research, and to engage patients and advocates throughout the research spectrum. She has been invited to present her work at multiple national meetings, including the American Thyroid Association Annual Meetings, the AACR Annual Meetings, ENDO Annual meetings, AACR Special Conferences: Ras Oncogenes: From Biology to Therapy, Immunotherapy, and Physical Oncology Meeting.

Education and Training

BA, BS, University of Connecticut (Sports Medicine and Athletic Training, Biology), 2000

MS, University of Connecticut (Nutritional Sciences), 2002

PhD, Vanderbilt University (Cancer Biology), 2007

Titles and Academic Titles

Director, Pediatric Translational Thyroid Cancer Laboratory

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes

Professional Memberships

American Association for Cancer Research, 2004-

American Thyroid Association, 2011-

Women in Thyroidology, 2011-

Endocrine Society, 2012-


Professional Awards

Chairperson, Trainees and Career Advancement Committee, American Thyroid Association, 2019-2020

Member, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Taskforce, American Thyroid Association, 2019

Member, Pediatric Thyroid Cancer Guideline Task Force, American Thyroid Association, 2019

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Leadership Summit Participant and ACT State Lead, Sept. 23-26, 2018, Washington, DC

Selected Participant: ESCAPE Leadership Conference for Cancer Advocates, Jan. 2-6, 2018, Tucson, Arizona

Selected Member, Women in Thyroidology Taskforce, American Thyroid Association, 2017-2019

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Leadership Summit Participant and ACT State Lead, Sept. 10-13, 2017, Washington, DC

Selected participant: Early Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar, 2016

Young Investigator Travel Award, Endocrine Society, 2013

Outstanding Abstract Award, Endocrine Society, 2013

Publication Highlights

Franco AT, Labourier E, Adlordeppey KK, Surrey LF, Mostoufi-Moab S, Isaac A, Adzick NS, Kazahaya K, Kumar G, Bauer AJ. miRNA expression can classify pediatric thyroid lesions and increases the diagnostic yield of mutation testing. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2020 Jun; 67(6):e28276. PMID: 32196952
Jana A, Nookaew I, Singh J, Behkam B, Franco AT, Nain AS. Crosshatch nanofiber networks of tunable interfiber spacing induce plasticity in cell migration and cytoskeletal response. FASEB J. 2019 Oct; 33(10):10618-10632. PMID: 31225977
Hinson AM, Massoll NA, Jolly LA, Stack BC, Bodenner D, Franco AT. Structural alterations in tumor-draining lymph nodes before papillary thyroid carcinoma metastasis. Head & Neck. 2017 Aug; 39(8):1639-1646. PMID: 28467685
Jolly LA, Novitskiy SV, Owens P, Massoll N, Cheng N, Fang W, Moses HA, Franco AT. Fibroblast-mediated collagen remodeling within the tumor microenvironment facilitates progression of thyroid cancers driven by BrafV600E and Pten loss. Cancer Res. 2016 Apr; 76(7):1804-13. PMID: 26818109

Active Grants/Contracts

MAPK Modulation in Thyroid Tumorigenesis
National Cancer Institute
This project seeks to answer how activation of the same signaling pathway, MAPK pathway, via different proteins in the cascade affects the molecular mechanisms of cancer development and can modify the tumor microenvironment.
Aime Franco (PI)