Welcome to Franco Laboratory

The Franco lab aims to understand the signaling mechanisms by which reactive oxygen species (ROS) regulate cellular fate. Distinct cell death pathways (apoptosis, necrosis and autophagy) have been associated to the etiology of human diseases such as cancer and neurodegeneration. ROS accumulation and oxidative stress have been implicated in the induction of cell death, but the molecular mechanisms that link ROS and the activation of cell death pathways remain elusive. We strive to identify those mechanisms and provide and insight into potential therapeutic approaches.

Dr. Rodrigo Franco
Dr. Rodrigo Franco

News & Events

  • Franco will co-chair with Dr. Michelle L Block a plenary session titled ” Molecular mechanisms involved in neuro/glial toxicity induced by environmental toxicants: From oxidative stress to redox signal transduction” at the Society Toxicology’s 2014 Annual Meeting to be held March 23 - 27, 2013 in Phoenix, AZ.
  • Recent publication: Navarro-Yepes J, Burns M, Anandhan A, Khalimonchuk O, Del Razo LM, Quintanilla-Vega B, Pappa A, Panayiotidis MI, Franco R. Oxidative stress, redox signaling and autophagy: Cell death vs Survival. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2014 Feb 2. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24483238.
  • Recent publication: Wang F, Franco R, Skotak M, Hu G, Chandra N. Mechanical stretch exacerbates the cell death in SH-SY5Y cells exposed to paraquat: mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress. Neurotoxicology. 2014 Jan 21;41C:54-63. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2014.01.002. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24462953.
  • Recent publication: Navarro-Yepes J, Zavala-Flores L, Anandhan A, Wang F, Skotak M, Chandra N, Li M, Pappa A, Martinez-Fong D, Del Razo LM, Quintanilla-Vega B, Franco R. Antioxidant gene therapy against neuronal cell death. Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Dec 12. pii: S0163-7258(13)00246-5. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2013.12.007. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24333264.
  • Recent publication: Franco R, Bortner CD, Schmitz I, Cidlowski JA. Glutathione depletion regulates both extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic signaling cascades independent from multidrug resistance protein 1. Apoptosis. 2014 Jan;19(1):117-34. doi: 10.1007/s10495-013-0900-0. PubMed PMID: 24146141.
  • Recent publication: Garcia-Garcia A, Anandhan A, Burns M, Chen H, Zhou Y, Franco R. Impairment of Atg5-dependent autophagic flux promotes paraquat- and MPP⁺-induced apoptosis but not rotenone or 6-hydroxydopamine toxicity. Toxicol Sci. 2013 Nov;136(1):166-82. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kft188. Epub 2013 Aug 31. PubMed PMID: 23997112; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3829573.
  • Dr. Dr. Ron Tjalkens from the Department of Environmental & Radiological Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, will visit the SVMBS-UNL on 03/07 to present the seminar titled “Glial inflammatory signaling and neurodegenerative disease”


Research Chart
  • Research Interests

    Redox signaling with an emphasis in thiol-redox homeostasis and oxidative protein cysteine modifications

    Cell death pathways regulated by oxidative stress and redox signaling including apoptosis, autophagy and necrosis

    Neuronal cell death associated with neurodegenerative disorders, ischaemia and brain injury

  • Education & Training

    1996-2000. National University of Mexico (UNAM). School of Sciences. B. S. in Biology

    2000-2004. National University of Mexico (UNAM). Cell Physiology Institute. Ph.D. in Sciences (Biomedical sciences) Advisor: Prof. Herminia Pasantes Morales

    2004-2009. Postdoctoral Fellow. Laboratory of Signal Transduction, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH. Research Triangle Park, NC 27709. Supervisor: Dr. John A. Cidlowski

  • Awards, Fellowships and Recognitions

    2001 and 2003. Young Investigator Travel Award. International Society for Neurochemistry (ISN)

    2001. Basic Neurochemistry School (Scholarship). International Society for Neurochemistry.

    2002. Young Investigator Travel Award. American Society for Neurochemistry (ASN)

    2005. Marie Curie Scholarship. European Cell Death Organization

    2007 and 2009. Travel Award. American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB). Experimental Biology

    2007 Martin Rodbell Travel Award, National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health

    2008 Travel Award. Keystone Symposia Scholarship. Cell Death in the Immune System.

    2009. Travel Award. American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB). Experimental Biology

    2006-present. National Program of Researchers (SNI) Level II. CONACYT, Mexico

    2010. Layman Award. Office of Research. University of Nebraska-Lincoln

  • Professional Memberships

    2009-present. Active Member of the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine

    2012-present. Regular Member of the Society for Neuroscience

    2013-present. Full Member of the Society of Toxicology

  • Editorial Boards

    2009-present. Editorial Board. Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods.

    2011-present. Editorial Board. Chemico-Biological Interactions.

  • Other professional experience

    2003-2004. Teaching Professor in Physiology. Bachelor in Biology Program. School of Sciences. Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. Av. Insurgentes Sur 3000, Circuito Exterior. Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico D.F. C.P. 04510.

    2001 Visiting Scientist. Biochemical Department. August Krogh Institute, University of Copenhaguen, Copenhaguen, Denmark.

    2009. Principal Investigator. Department of Toxicology. Center of Advanced Studies and Research of the National Polytechnic Institute (CINVESTAV). Mexico City, D.F. Mexico.