Aime T. Franco, PhD

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Aime T. Franco, PhD, is an assistant professor and investigator with the Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Franco will Direct the newly established Pediatric Thyroid Cancer Translational Research Laboratory.

Appointments and Referrals: 1-800-TRY-CHOP (1-800-879-2467)

Education and Training


Postdoctoral Fellowship in Genetics of Thyroid Cancer - Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY

Graduate Degree

PhD in Cancer Biology - Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

MS in Nutritional Sciences - University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

Titles and Academic Titles


Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Departments and Services

Research Interests

Molecular biology and genetics of thyroid cancer
Improving quality of life and survivorship outcomes for thyroid cancer




Jana A, Nookaew I, Singh J, Behkam B, Franco AT, Nain AS. (2019) “Crosshatch nanofiber networks of tunable interfiber spacing induce plasticity in cell migration and cytoskeletal response.” FASEB J, epub Jun 24, 2019 PMID: 31225977


Ciccarella A, Staley AC, Franco AT. (2018) “Transforming Research: Engaging patient advocates at all stages of cancer research.” Ann Transl Med, 6(9): 167. PMID: 28467685


Hinson AM, Massoll NA, Jolly LA, Stack BC, Bodenner D, Franco AT. (2017) “Structural Alterations in Tumor-Draining Lymph Nodes Before Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma Metastasis.”  Head & Neck, 39(8): 1639-1646.

Hinson AM, Lawson BR, Franco AT, Stack BC (2017) Association of Parathyroid Gland Biopsy, Proportion, Mass, and Excision Technique with Ex Vivo Radiation Counts During Radioguided Parathyroid Surgery.” JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 143(6): 595-600. PMID: 28358958

Qin Z, Lin WT, Zhu S, Franco AT*, Liu J* (2017) “Imaging the motility and chemotaxis machineries in Helicobacter pylori by cryo-electron tomography.” J Bacteriol  199(3): e00695-16. PMID: 27849173. (* co-corresponding authors)


Jolly LA, Massoll N, Franco A.T. (2016) “Immune Suppression Mediated by Myeloid and Lymphoid Derived Immune Cells in the Tumor Microenvironment Facilitates Progression of Thyroid Cancers Driven by HrasG12V and Pten Loss.” J Clin Cell Immunol. 7 (5): 451. PMID: 27942419.

Jolly LA, Novitskiy SV, Owens P, Massoll N, Cheng N, Fang W, Moses HA, Franco AT. (2016) “Fibroblast-mediated collagen remodeling within the tumor microenvironment facilitates progression of thyroid cancers driven by BrafV600E and Pten loss.” Cancer Research 76: 1804-13. PMID: 26818109.


Franco AT, Corken A and Ware J (2015) “Platelets at the interface of thrombosis, inflammation, and cancer.” Blood 126: 582-8. PMID: 26109205


Franco AT*, Malaguarnera R*, Refetoff S, Liao X, Lundsmith E, Kimura S, Pritchard C, Marais R, Davies T, Weinstein LS, Chen M, Rosen N, Ghossein R, Knauf JA, and Fagin JA (2011)  “Thyrotrophin Receptor Signaling-Dependence of Braf-Induced Thyroid Tumor Initiation in Mice.”  PNAS 108: 1615-20. PMID: 21220306


Dutta A, Schaller M, Franco AT, Sankavaram K, Grattan BJ and Freake HC. (2010) “Primary and transformed cells respond differently to zinc deprivation.” J Nutr. Biochem 21: 162-70. PMID: 19269154


Chen X, Mitsutake N, LaPerle K, Akeno N, Zanzonico P, Longo V, Mitsutake S, Kimura E, Geiger H , Wendel HG, Franco A, Knauf JA, and Fagin JA”. (2009) “Endogenous expression of HrasG12V induces developmental defects and neoplasms with copy number imbalances of the oncogene.” PNAS 106: 7979-7984. PMID: 19416908

Bronte-Tinkew D, Terebzink M, Ahn D, Musuro H, Sasakawa C, Franco AT, Peek RM, Jones N. (2009) “Helicobacter pylori CagA activates the Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription (3) STAT3 Pathway In Vitro and In Vivo.” Cancer Research 69: 632-9. PMID: 19147578

Franco AT, Friedman DB, Krishna U, Kendall A, Israel DA, Backert S, and Peek RM. (2009) “Delineation of a Carcinogenic Helicobacter pylori Proteome.”  Mol Cell  Proteomics 8: 1947-58. PMID: 19470446


Franco AT , Johnston E, Krishna U, Yamaoka Y, Israel DA, Nagy TA, Wroblewski LE, Piazuelo MB, Correa P, and Peek RM. (2008) “Regulation of Gastric Carcinogenesis by Helicobacter pylori Virulence Factors.” Cancer Research 68: 379-87. PMID: 18199531


O’Brien D, Israel DA, Krishna U, Romero-Gallo J, Nedrud J, Medof ME, Lin F, Redline R, Lublin DM, Nowicki BJ, Franco AT , Ogden S, Williams AD, Polk DB, and Peek RM. (2006) “The Role of Decay-accelerating Factor as a Receptor for Helicobacter pylori and a Mediator of Gastric Inflammation” J. Biol. Chem. 281: 13317-13323. PMID: 16543227


Franco AT, Israel DA, Washington MK, Krishna U, Fox JG, Rogers AB, Neish AS, Collier-Hyams L, Perez-Perez GI, Hatakeyama M, Whitehead R, Gaus K, O’Brien DP, Romero-Gallo J, Peek RM.  (2005)  “Activation of β-catenin by carcinogenic Helicobacter pylori.”  PNAS 102: 10646-10651. PMID: 16027366




Ware, J and Franco AT. 2019 Pathophysiology 2: The Role of Platelets in Cancer Biology. In: Thrombosis and Hemostasis in Cancer, Vol. 179: Springer Nature Press.


Bornhorst JA, Franco AT, Hinson AM. 2017. Laboratory Testing, PTH Measurement of Needle Aspirates, and Intra Operative PTH Technologies. In: Medical and Surgical Treatment of Parathyroid Diseases. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. p. 517-528. 

Posters and Presentations


Franco AT. 101st Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society, New Orleans, LA, March 23, 2019; “Modeling the Microenvironment Using Mouse Models of Thyroid Cancer”


Franco AT. American Association for Cancer Research Translational Research for Basic Scientists Workshop, Boston, MA, November 4-9th: Invited panelist and faculty mentor for the Workshop.

Franco AT. 88th American Thyroid Association Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, October, 2018; “Grant Writing 101”

Franco AT. 88th American Thyroid Association Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, October, 2018; “Transitions – Making Critical Work and Life Decisions” invited panelist

Franco AT. 88th American Thyroid Association Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, October, 2018; “Careers in Basic Science Panel”

Franco AT. Doctor is in the Village, Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, May 17, 2018, “Thyroid Cancer Research in Arkansas.”


Franco AT. 6th Annual State-of-the-Art in Thrombosis and Hemostasis, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; September 17,2017 “The Role of the Platelet in Cancer Growth and Behavior”

Franco AT. 87th American Thyroid Association Annual Meeting, Victoria, BC, Canada; “Careers in Basic Science Panel”

Franco AT. 87th American Thyroid Association Annual Meeting, Victoria, BC, Canada; “Transgenic Mouse Models of Thyroid Cancer Microenvironment”

Awards and Honors

2018, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Leadership Summit
2018, Selected Participant: ESCAPE Leadership Conference for Cancer
2017, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Leadership Summit
2016, Selected participant: Early Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar
2013, Outstanding Abstract Award, Endocrine Society
2013, Young Investigator Travel Award, Endocrine Society
2009, National Research Service Award, NIH NCI, 2 year fellowship
2009, AACR-Aflac Scholar-in-Training Award
2007, Travel Award, Mechanisms Linking Inflammation and Cancer Keystone Symposium
2006, Travel Award, Wnt and beta-Catenin signaling Keystone Symposium
2006, Selected for NIH Graduate Research Festival
2005, First Place Oral Presentation, Host-Tumor Interactions Program, Vanderbilt University
2005, First Place Poster Presentation, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center Retreat, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Editorial and Academic Positions

Editorial Positions


2018-present, Head & Neck
2018-present, Journal of Cancer Metastasis and Treatment
2018-present, Scientific Reports
2018-present, International Journal of Molecular Sciences
2018-present, Cancer Research
2018-present, Endocrinology
2017-present, Cell Communication and Signaling
2017-present, Thyroid
2016-present, International Journal of Molecular Targets
2016-present, Oncotargets
2016-present, Oncogene
2014-present, Molecular Endocrinology
2011-present, Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology
2010-present, The American Journal of Pathology
2007-present, Clinical Cancer Research
2007-present, Molecular Cancer Research

Leadership and Memberships

Memberships in Professional Organizations

2013-present, Women in Endocrinology
2011-present, Endocrine Society
2011-present, American Thyroid Association
 - 2019-present, Pediatric Thyroid Cancer Guideline Task Force
 - 2019-presen, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Taskforce
 - 2019-2020, Chair, Basic Science Trainees-Subcommittee, Trainees and Career Advancement Committee
 - 2017-2020, Women in Thyroidology Taskforce
 - 2017-2020, Trainees and Career Advancement Committee
2005-present, Women in Cancer Research
2005-present, American Association for Cancer Research
2004-present, American Association for the Advancement of Science