Genoveffa  Franchini, M.D.

Genoveffa Franchini, M.D.

  • Center for Cancer Research
  • National Cancer Institute
Vaccine Branch


HTLV-1 causes cancer and neuropathology, whereas HIV causes AIDS. We uncovered the mechanisms used by HTLV-1 to inhibit innate and adaptive host responses and that HTLV-1 replication in vivo depends on infection of monocytes that necessitate cleavage of the viral p12 precursor protein, thus providing a novel viral therapeutic target. We engineered vaccines, together with the private sector, to prevent HTLV-1 and HIV infection. One of the HIV vaccines, the ALVAC-HIV/gp120, has been the first to demonstrate limited, but significant protection against HIV acquisition in humans. Our studies in macaques mirror the human results providing the opportunity to identify the immunological effector(s) of protection and improve vaccine efficacy against HIV.

Areas of Expertise

Molecular Retrovirology
Retroviral Pathogenesis


Selected Recent Publications

Engagement of monocytes, NK cells, and CD4+ Th1 cells by ALVAC-SIV vaccination results in a decreased risk of SIVmac251 vaginal acquisition

Gorini G, Fourati S, Vaccari M, Rahman MA, Gordon SN, Brown DR, Law L, Chang J, Green R, Barrenäs F, Liyanage NPM, Doster MN, Schifanella L, Bissa M, Silva de Castro I, Washington-Parks R, Galli V, Fuller DH, Santra S, Agy M, Pal R, Palermo RE, Tomaras GD, Shen X, LaBranche CC, Montefiori DC, Venzon DJ, Trinh HV, Rao M, Gale M Jr, Sekaly RP, Franchini G
PLoS Pathog. 16(3): e1008377, 2020. [ Journal Article ]

ALVAC-HIV B/C candidate HIV vaccine efficacy dependent on neutralization profile of challenge virus and adjuvant dose and type

Schifanella L, Barnett SW, Bissa M, Galli V, Doster MN, Vaccari M, Tomaras GD, Shen X, Phogat S, Pal R, Montefiori DC, LaBranche CC, Rao M, Trinh HV, Washington-Parks R, Liyanage NPM, Brown DR, Liang F, Loré K, Venzon DJ, Magnanelli W, Metrinko M, Kramer J, Breed M, Alter G, Ruprecht RM, Franchini G
PLoS Pathog. 15(12): e1008121, 2019. [ Journal Article ]

Mucosal vaccine efficacy against intrarectal SHIV is independent of anti-Env antibody response

Sui Y, Lewis GK, Wang Y, Berckmueller K, Frey B, Dzutsev A, Vargas-Inchaustegui D, Mohanram V, Musich T, Shen X, DeVico A, Fouts T, Venzon D, Kirk J, Waters RC, Talton J, Klinman D, Clements J, Tomaras GD, Franchini G, Robert-Guroff M, Trinchieri G, Gallo RC, Berzofsky JA
J Clin Invest.. 129(3): 1314-28, 2019. [ Journal Article ]

HIV vaccine candidate activation of hypoxia and the inflammasome in CD14+ monocytes is associated with a decreased risk of SIVmac251 acquisition

Vaccari M, Fourati S, Gordon SN, Brown DR, Bissa M, Schifanella L, Silva de Castro I, Doster MN, Galli V, Omsland M, Fujikawa D, Gorini G, Liyanage NPM, Trinh HV, McKinnon KM, Foulds KE, Keele BF, Roederer M, Koup RA, Shen X, Tomaras GD, Wong MP, Munoz KJ, Gach JS, Forthal DN, Montefiori DC, Venzon DJ, Felber BK, Rosati M, Pavlakis GN, Rao M, Sekaly RP, Franchini G
Nat Med. 24(6): 847-56, 2018. [ Journal Article ]

Distinct susceptibility of HIV vaccine vector-induced CD4 T cells to HIV infection

Auclair S, Liu F, Niu Q, Hou W, Churchyard G, Morgan C, Frahm N, Nitayaphan S, Pitisuthithum P, Rerks-Ngarm S, Kimata JT, Soong L, Franchini G, Robb M, Kim J, Michael N, Hu H
PLoS Pathog. 14(2): e1006888, 2018. [ Journal Article ]

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Staff Scientist
Massimiliano Bissa, Ph.D.
Research Biologist
Melvin Nelson Doster, B.S.
Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Anna Gutowska, Ph.D.
Guest Researcher
Corrado Gurgo, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow (CRTA)
Ramona Moles, Ph.D.
Staff Scientist
Mohammad Arif Rahman, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Sarkis Sarkis, Ph.D.
Research Fellow
Isabela Silva De Castro, Ph.D.
Research Biologist
Robyn Washington-Parks, B.S.
Staff Scientist
Luca Schifanella , M.D., Ph.D.