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Sonia Franco, MD, PhD

Phone number: (410) 614-9224


Interests: DNA repair; Mouse genetics; Immunodeficiency; Radiobiology

Titles: Assistant Professor, Radiation Oncology

Schools\degrees: Autonoma University, Madrid, Spain\MD; Autonoma University, Madrid, Spain\PhD, Molecular Biology and Genetics

Training: University of Chicago\Pediatric resident; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York\Clinical Fellow, Pediatric Hematology and Oncology; Harvard University, Boston\ Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Research summary: My research objectives focus on the use of mouse models to identify the cellular factors and pathway that repair DNA damage. We have an interest in understanding how these factors interact at sites of DNA damage to suppress tumor development. Our work also aims at defining novel targets for future individualized cancer therapies.

Journal citations

Franco S, Kelly M, Ushay M, DiMichele D. Highly probable anaphylactic reaction to systemic thrombolytic therapy with high-dose urokinase in a child with a prosthetic valve. J. Pediatr. Hematol. Oncol. 20(2):181-2, 1998.

Albanell J, Bosl GJ, Reuter VE, Engelhardt M, Franco S, Moore MAS, Dmitrovsky E. Telomerase activity in germ cell cancers and mature teratomas. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 91(15):1321-1326, 1999.

MacKenzie KL, Franco S, May C, Sadelain M, Moore MAS. Mass cultured human fibroblasts overexpressing hTERT encounter a growth crisis following an extended period of proliferation. Exp. Cell  Res. 259(2):336-350, 2000.

Franco S, MacKenzie KL, Dias S, Alvarez S, Rafii S, Moore MAS. Clonal variation in phenotype and lifespan of human embryonic fibroblasts (MRC-5) transduced with the catalytic component of telomerase (hTERT). Exp. Cell  Res. 268(1):14-25, 2001.

Franco S, Segura I, Riese H, Blasco MA. Decreased B16F10 melanoma growth and impaired vascularization in telomerase-deficient mice with critically short telomeres. Cancer Res. 62(2):552-9, 2002.

Espejel S, Franco S, Rodríguez-Perales S, Cigudosa JC, Blasco MA. Mammalian Ku86 mediates chromosomal fusions and apoptosis caused by critically short telomeres. EMBO J. 21(9):2207-2219, 2002.

Franco S, Alsheimer M, Herrera E, Benavente, R. Blasco MA. Mammalian meiotic telomeres: composition and ultraestructure in telomerase deficient mice. European J. Cell Biol. 81:1-6, 2002.

MacKenzie KL, Franco S, Naiyer AJ, May C, Sadelain M, Rafii S, Moore MAS. Multiple stages of malignant transformation of human endothelial cells modelled by co-expression of telomerase reverse transcriptase, SV-40 large T antigen and oncogenic N-ras. Oncogene 21(27):4200-4211, 2002.

Wiemann SU, Satyanarayana A, Tsahuridu M, Tillmann H, Zender L, Klempnauer J, Flemming P, Franco S, Blasco MA, Manns, MP, Rudolph, KL. Hepatocyte telomere shortening and senescence are general markers of human liver cirrhosis. FASEB J. 16(9):935-942, 2002.

Espejel S*, Franco S*, Sgura A*, Eguia R, Blasco MA. DNA-PKcs functionally interacts with telomerase in maintaining telomere length in the mouse. EMBO J. 21(22):6275-6287, 2002.

Leri A*, Franco S*, Zacheo A, Barlucchi L, Chimenti S, Limana F, Nadal-Ginard B, Kajstura J, Anversa P, Blasco MA. Ablation of telomerase and telomere loss leads to cardiac dilatation and heart failure. EMBO J. 22(1):131-139, 2003.

Franco S, Ozkaynak MF, Sandoval C, Tugal O, Jayabose S, Engelhardt, Moore MAS. Telomere dynamics in childhood leukemia and solid tumors: a follow-up study. Leukemia 17(2):401-410, 2003.

Maraval A, Franco S, Vialas C, Pratviel G, Blasco MA, Meunier B. Porphyrin-aminoquinoline conjugates as telomerase inhibitors. Org. Biomol. Chem.  1(6): 921 - 927, 2003.

Keefe DL, Franco S, Liu L, Trimarchi J, Blasco M, Weitzen S. Short telomeres in the chromosomes of spare eggs predict poor prognosis following in vitro fertilization/embryo transfer-towards a telomere theory of reproductive aging in women. Fertil. Steril. 80(S3):1, 2003.

Poch, E., Carbonell P, Franco S, Díez-Juan A, Blasco MA, Andres V. Short telomeres protect from diet-induced atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-null mice. FASEB J. 18(2):418-420, 2004.

Villa A, Navarro-Galve B, Bueno C, Franco S, Blasco MA, Martinez-Serrano A. Long-term molecular and cellular stability of human neural stem cell lines. Exp. Cell Res. 294: 559-570, 2004.

Liu L, Franco S, Spyropoulos B, Moens PB, Blasco MA, Keefe DL. Irregular telomeres impair meiotic synapsis and recombination in mice. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 101:6496-6501, 2004.

Ferron S*, Mira H*, Franco S*, Cano-Jaimez M, Bellmunt E, Ramirez C, Farinas I, Blasco MA. Telomere shortening and chromosomall instability abrogates proliferation of adult but not embryonic neural stem cells. Development. 131:4059-4070, 2004.

Franco S, van de Vrugt HJ, Fernandez P, Aracil M, Arwert F, Blasco MA. Telomere dynamics in fancg-deficient mouse and human cells. Blood. 104:3927-3935, 2004.

Keefe D, Franco S, Liu L, Trimarchi J, Cao B, Weitzen S, Agarwal S, Blasco MA. Telomere length predicts embryo fragmentation after in vitro fertilization in women-Toward a telomere theory of reproductive aging in women. Am J Obst Gynecol. 192:1256-1260, 2005.

Franco S, Canela A, Klatt P, Blasco MA. Effectors of mammalian telomere dysfunction: a comparative transcriptome analysis using mouse models. Carcinogenesis 26:1613-1626, 2005.

Chua KF, Mostoslavsky R, Lombard DL, Pang WW, Saito S, Franco S, Kaushal D, Cheng H-L, Fischer MR, Stokes N, Murphy MM, Appella E, Alt FW. Mammalian SIRT1 limits replicative lifespan in response to chronic genotoxic stress. Cell Metabol. 2:67-76, 2005.

Franco S, Blasco MA, Siedlak SL, Harris PL, Moreira PI, Perry G, Smith MA. Telomeres and telomerase in Alzheimer’s disease: epiphenomena or a new focus for therapeutic strategy? Alzheimers Dement. 2:164, 2006.

Lou Z, Minter-Dykhouse K, Franco S, Gostissa M, Rivera MA, Celeste A, Manis J, van Deursen J, Nussenzweig A, Paull TT, Alt FW, Chen J. MDC1 maintains genomic stability by participating in the amplification of ATM-dependent DNA damage signals. Mol. Cell. 21:187-200, 2006.

Franco S, Gostissa M, Zha S, Lombard DB, Murphy MM, Zarrin A, Yan C, Tepsuporn S, Morales JC, Adams MM, Lou Z, Bassing CH, Manis JP, Chen J, Carpenter PB, Alt FW. Histone H2AX prevents DNA breaks from progressing to chromosome breaks and translocations. Mol. Cell. 21:200-214, 2006.

Mostoslavsky R, Chua K, Lombard D, Pang W, Fischer M, Gellon L, Liu P, Mostoslavsky G, Franco S, Murphy M, Mills K, Patel P, Hsu JT, Hong AL, Ford E, Cheng H-L, Kennedy C, Nunuez N, Bronson R, Frendewey D, Auerbach W, Valenzuela D, Karow M, Hursting S, Barret JC, Guarente L, Mulligan R, Demple B, Yancopoulos G, Alt FW. Genomic instability and aging-like phenotype in the absence of mammalian SIRT6. Cell.124:315-329, 2006.

Morales J, Franco S, Murphy MM, Bassing CH, Mills KD, Adams MM, Manis JP, Rassidakis GZ, Alt FW, Carpenter PB. 53BP1 and p53 synergize to suppress genomic instability and lymphomagenesis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 103:3310-3315, 2006.

Franco S, Blasco MA, Siedlak SL, Harris PL, Moreira PI, Perry G, Smith MA. Telomeres and telomerase in Alzheimer’s disease: epiphenomena or a new focus for therapeuric strategy? Alzheimers Dement. 2:164-8, 2006.

Yan CT, Boboila C, Souza EK, Franco S, Hickernell T, Murphy M, Gumaste S, Geyer M, Zarrin AA, Manis JP, Rajewsky K, Alt FW. IgH class switching and translocations employ a robust non-classical end-joining pathway. Nature 449:478-82, 2007.

Jabara H, Chaudhuri J, Dutt S, Dedeoglu F, Weng Y, Murphy MM, Franco S, Alt FW, Manis J, Geha RS. B cell receptor crosslinking delays activation-induced cytidine deaminase induction and inhibits class switch recombination to IgE. J Clin All Immunol 121:191-196, 2008.

Franco S, Murphy MM, Li G, Borjeson T, Boboila C, Alt FW. DNA-PKcs and Artemis are required for the end-joining phase of immunoglobulin class switch recombination. J. Exp. Med. 205:557-564, 2008.

Takizawa M, Tolarova H, Li Z, Dubois W, Lim S, Callen E, Franco S, Mosaico M, Feigenbaum L, Alt FW, Nussenzweig A, Potter M, Casellas R. AID expression levels determine the extent of cMyc oncogenic translocations and the incidence of B cell tumor development. J. Exp. Med. 205:1949-57, 2008.

Li G, Alt FW, Cheng H-L, Brush JW, Goff PH, Murphy MM, Franco S, Zhang Y, Zha S. Lymphocyte –specific compensation for XLF/Cernunnos end-joining functions in V(D)J recombination. Mol. Cell, 205:1949-57, 2008.

Schenten D*, Kracker S*, Esposito G*, Franco S, Klein U, Murphy MM, Alt FW, Rajewsky K. Pol zeta ablation in B cells impairs the germinal center reaction, class switch recombination, DNA break repair and genomic stability. J. Exp. Med. 206:477-490, 2009.

Orsburn B, Escudero B, Prakash M, Gesheva S, Liu G, Huso DL, Franco S. Differential requirement for H2AX and 53BP1 in organismal development and genome maintenance in the absence of PARP1. Mol. Cell Biol. 30:2341-52, 2010.

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