| Our Faculty

Ruth Franklin, Ph.D.

The Franklin laboratory is focused on understanding fundamental biological principles at the intersection of immunology and regenerative biology. Currently, we study the role of immune cells in tissue building and rebuilding in the context of injury, infection, and cancer. Our overall goal is to identify the molecular mechanisms by which immune cells contribute to tissue remodeling and repair and decipher how dysregulation of these pathways drives development of disease. Using an interdisciplinary approach, our studies aim to define the communication circuits between innate immune cells, such as macrophages, and non-immune cell types, including epithelial cells, endothelial cells, fibroblasts, and sensory neurons at mucosal barrier sites.

Ruth Franklin received her B.A. from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine where she majored in Biology and minored in Sociology. She earned her Ph.D. in Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis from Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, where she studied in the laboratory of Dr. Ming Li at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Her thesis work characterized the lineage and function of tumor-associated macrophages in the development and progression of breast cancer.

Dr. Franklin then joined the laboratory of Dr. Ruslan Medzhitov at Yale School of Medicine as a postdoctoral fellow, where she continued to expand her interests in macrophage biology. Her work demonstrated that cell composition within tissues can be regulated by reciprocal exchange of growth factors. Over the course of her research, Dr. Franklin also identified a number of secreted factors produced by macrophages in response to stress conditions. These molecules likely have important functions during both homeostasis and inflammation.


  • SCRB 177

    Demystifying the Immune System

    What happens during an infection? This course will follow the progression of an immune response while exploring the following questions: What is inflammation? How can it both protect us and contribute to disease? Which physiologic processes are regulated by immune cells? In addition to participation in lectures, discussions, and analysis of primary literature, each student will create an original piece of science communication to engage with the general public.

  • FYSEMR 53D

    The Cure Within: Fighting Cancer with Your Immune System

    Cancer touches countless lives. The search for a cure has driven the development of innovative therapeutic approaches focused on a once unconventional target: the immune system. In this seminar, we will dive into the exciting world of cancer research and discover how our own immune cells can be harnessed to fight this formidable disease. Through collaborative discussions, presentations, and the examination of popular science writing and research articles, students will explore the fundamental principles of cancer biology, the immune system, and tumor immunotherapy. We will consider questions such as: Why do tumors grow? How does the immune system “see” tumor cells? How can we manipulate immune cells to eradicate growing tumors? This course also features a field trip to a tumor immunology lab at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, providing a firsthand encounter with groundbreaking science. To conclude the semester, students will craft group presentations to illuminate a cutting-edge cancer immunotherapy tailored for a lay audience. Empowered with a solid foundation in the basics of cancer immunology and the ability to think critically about scientific information, students will leave this seminar equipped to join the ongoing conversation about cancer and its treatment.

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