Luis M. Franco

Luis M. Franco

Luis M. Franco

Power Words

Power Words: Spanish: 
Ve al colegio/universidad
Power Words: English: 
Go to college!

Where were you born? 

In Medellín, Colombia.

What school did you attend? 

I did medical school at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, which is a Jesuit university. I did my residency in internal medicine and my fellowship in clinical genetics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX.

What gained you interest in the NIH? 

While I was a junior faculty member in internal medicine and genetics at Baylor College of Medicine, I was made aware of the Transition Program in Clinical Research (TPCR) at NIAID. This program allows aspiring physician-scientists to start a lab at NIH under the mentorship of a senior intramural investigator. I just completed the TPCR at NIAID and now have a joint appointment between NIAMS and NIAID, which will allow me to grow my lab and continue to work in the great environment of the intramural program.

What kind of work do you do at the NIH? 

Staff Clinician. My lab works at the intersection of clinical medicine, immunology, and genomics. We apply the tools of genomics to the understanding of medically important questions related to the immune system. For example, doctors often use a group of drugs called glucocorticoids to treat diseases in which the immune system is too active. Glucocorticoids are very effective at controlling an overactive immune system, but they also have many side effects. Surprisingly, although they have been in clinical use for over 70 years, we still don’t really understand how glucocorticoids work. Our genomics approach is providing a more complete picture of how glucocorticoids work in humans. We hope that this work will eventually pave the way for the development of new drugs that are as effective as glucocorticoids, but less harmful to patients.

What message would you like to send to young Hispanics who are considering going to college? 

Go to college! Be who you are, do what you love, and never let stereotypes define you.