Olga L. Franco Mahecha, D.V.M., MSc., Ph.D.

Comparative Medicine Branch

NIH Main Campus, Bethesda, MD

Olga L. Franco Mahecha, D.V.M., MSc., Ph.D.

Facility Veterinarian, Building 4 and 10/11C127

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Ph.D., 2014, MSc., 2010, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina

D.V.M., 2005, National University of Colombia

Dr. Franco Mahecha obtained her D.V.M. degree from the National University of Colombia (2005), followed by a diploma in Laboratory of Clinical Immunology from the Pontifical Xaverian University, Colombia (2007). She received her MSc. in Animal Health (2010) and Ph.D. in Veterinary Immunology (2014) from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. During her postgraduate training, she contributed to the development of a candidate vaccine to protect mice and cattle against experimental infection with Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus (BVDV). In 2011, she moved to the United States to work at the Center for Vaccine Development, School of Medicine, University of Maryland-Baltimore (UMB). During her fellowship at UMB, she contributed to the development of experimental vaccines to protect mice against Salmonella enterica, Shigella flexnerii and Yersinia enterocolitica. From 2017 to 2019, Dr. Franco Mahecha was an IRTA postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Interventional Oncology (CIO), Clinical Center, NIH, Bethesda. During this time, she studied the use of thermal ablation combined with immunotherapy in mouse models of melanoma and colon cancer. She also collaborated on the development of woodchuck models for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Dr. Franco Mahecha joined CMB at NIAID-NIH on July 2022, after completing her residency program in Research and Laboratory Animal Medicine at the MIT-Division of Comparative Medicine in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has more than 14 years of experience as Veterinarian Scientist, her research interests include vaccine development, gastroenteric bacterial diseases, and cancer immunotherapy. As Laboratory Animal Veterinarian, she has worked with various animal species including rodents, rabbits, pigs, woodchucks, non-human primates, and birds. She has an active veterinary license in the state of Maryland.

Selected Publications

Franco-Mahecha OL, Carrasco SE. Hepatic steatosis, a lesion reported in captive aged common marmosets. Aging Pathobiol Ther. 2021;3(1):14-16.

Heine SJ, Franco-Mahecha OL, Sears KT, Drachenberg CB, van Roosmalen ML, Leenhouts K, Picking WL, Pasetti MF. A Combined YopB and LcrV Subunit Vaccine Elicits Protective Immunity against Yersinia Infection in Adult and Infant Mice. J Immunol. 2019 Apr 1;202(7):2005-2016.

Cardoso N, Franco-Mahecha OL, Czepluch W, Quintana ME, Malacari DA, Trotta MV, Mansilla FC, Capozzo AV. Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus Infects Monocyte-Derived Bovine Dendritic Cells by an E2-Glycoprotein-Mediated Mechanism and Transiently Impairs Antigen Presentation. Viral Immunol. 2016 Sep;29(7):417-29.

Heine SJ, Franco-Mahecha OL, Chen X, Choudhari S, Blackwelder WC, van Roosmalen ML, Leenhouts K, Picking WL, Pasetti MF. Shigella IpaB and IpaD displayed on L. lactis bacterium-like particles induce protective immunity in adult and infant mice. Immunol Cell Biol. 2015 Aug;93(7):641-52.

Mansilla FC, Franco-Mahecha OL, Lavoria MÁ, Moore DP, Giraldez AN, Iglesias ME, Wilda M, Capozzo AV. The immune enhancement of a novel soy lecithin/β-glucans based adjuvant on native Neospora caninum tachyzoite extract vaccine in mice. Vaccine. 2012 Feb 1;30(6):1124-31.

Franco Mahecha OL, Ogas Castells ML, Combessies G, Lavoria MA, Wilda M, Mansilla FC, Seki C, Grigera PR, Capozzo AV. Single dilution Avidity-Blocking ELISA as an alternative to the Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus neutralization test. J Virol Methods. 2011 Aug;175(2):228-35.

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