Portrait of Antonietta Franco

Antonietta Franco, PhD

Instructor in Medicine


Dr. Franco started her scientific carrier in Naples, (Italy). During her Ph.D training, her studies focused on G-Protein-Coupled receptor (GRK2) and its role in cardiovascular disease, whose molecular complexity and mechanistic implications in heart failure are well demonstrated and documented. She is a very dynamic and curious scientist. She has always explored new scientific fields and challenged herself in new laboratories. Dr. Franco completed two summer research programs: in 2011 at Department of National Heart and Lung to Imperial College London (UK) and in 2013 at GSI Helmholtzzentrum fur Schwerionenforsschung Frankfurt (Germany).

In 2016, she won an international grant with “Italian Society of Ierpertensione arteriosa” that allowed her to fly to the prestigious laboratory in the world for mitochondria studies at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis under supervision of Professor Gerald W. Dorn II. Her studies have focused on Charcot-Marie-Tooth Type 2A (CMT2A). She was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship from Washington University School of Medicine’s McDonnell Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology to continue her studies in CMT2A. CMT2A is an incurable hereditary neurological disease caused by mutation in Mitofusin2. Her CMT2A studies have been respectively published in Nature (Franco A. in 2016), Science (Rocha AG. and Franco A., in 2018), (Franco A. Elife in 2020 ) and (Franco A. JPET 2022).

The principal aim of Dr. Franco’s research for the near future is to understand the molecular mitochondria mechanism and clinical relevance in mitochondrial fusion defects linked to cardiac abnormalities and neurodegenerative diseases. The long-term goal of this project will be finding ways to therapeutically approach treating mitochondrial fusion defects in heart failure and neurological diseases. This research will have high relevance since she will analyze the human variants that induce hereditary disease.

On The Web

Antonietta at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis: