Hector L. Franco, PhD
Lead Investigator
Co-Leader of Bioinformatics and Biostatistics Core
Division of Clinical and Translational Cancer Research

Areas of Interest:
Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics
Gene Regualtion

Dr. Franco has an enduring interest in understanding how the human genome works and how genes become deregulated in cancer. Using an interdisciplinary approach that combines high-throughput genomics and genetic engineering techniques, the Franco lab works to uncover the underlying molecular mechanisms that control gene expression. In addition, Dr. Franco aims to understand how cancer cells rewire basic mechanisms of gene expression to drive tumor biology and response to therapy with the goal of highlighting novel avenues for therapeutic interventions.  

Dr. Franco completed a bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology at Florida Tech while on an athletic scholarship as member of the university’s soccer team. He returned home to complete his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine and went on to complete his postdoctoral training in Cancer Genomics at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. The Franco lab was founded in 2017 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has recently moved to the Comprehensive Cancer Center of the University of Puerto Rico. For more information please visit the Franco lab website: www.thefrancolab.org

Recent Publications:

1.       Hyunsoo Kim, Kamila Wisniewska, Matthew J. Regner, Aatish Thennavan, Philip M. Spanheimer and Hector L. Franco* (2023) Single-Cell Transcriptional and Epigenetic Profiles of Male Breast Cancer Nominate Salient Cancer-Specific Enhancers. Int. Journal of Molecular Sciences. 24(17): 13053

2.       Michael R. Kelly, Kamila Wisniewska, Matthew J. Regner, Michael W. Lewis, Andrea A. Perreault, Eric S. Davis, Douglas H. Phanstiel, Joel S. Parker, and Hector L. Franco* (2022) A multi-omic dissection of super-enhancer driven oncogenic gene expression programs in ovarian cancer. Nature Communications. 13:4247

3.       Matthew J. Regner, Kamila Wisniewska, Susana Garcia-Recio, Aatish Thennavan, Raul Mendez-Giraldez, Venkat S. Malladi, Gabrielle Hawkins, Joel S. Parker, Charles M. Perou, Victoria L. Bae-Jump, and Hector L. Franco*(2021) A multi-omic single-cell landscape of human gynecologic malignancies. Molecular Cell.81: 4924–4941

4.       Hector L. Franco, Anusha Nagari, Venkat Malladi, Wenqian Li, Yuanxin Xi, Dana Richardson, Kaori Tanaka, Jing Li, Michelle C. Barton, Xiaobing Shi, Khandan Keyomarsi, Mark T. Bedford, Wei Li, Sharon Y. R. Dent, and W. Lee Kraus (2018) Enhancer Transcription Reveals Subtype-Specific Gene Expression Programs Controlling Breast Cancer Pathogenesis. Genome Research.28: 159-170

5.       Hector L. Franco and W. Lee Kraus (2015) No Driver Behind the Wheel? Targeting Transcription as a Therapeutic Strategy in Cancer. Cell. 163(1):28-30.