Marco E. Franco

Ph.D. Student in Environmental Science

Office: BSB A448R



2017 - M.S. in Biology / Environmental Toxicology

University of Louisiana at Lafayette, LA, US


2014 - B.S. in Biology (Cum Laude)

University of Louisiana at Lafayette, LA, US



Marco joined the Lavado lab in August 2017 after completing his M.S. degree. His research interests are in the cellular and biochemical mechanisms arising from exposure to natural and anthropogenic environmental contaminants, as well as the modifications to such compounds during metabolism. Marco is interested in integrating in vitro and in vivo models to expand the applicability of toxicity testing to environmentally relevant scenarios. His experience is primarily in investigating the effects of crude oil and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in aquatic organisms. For this work, Marco was named Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) Scholar.


Currently, his main projects are directed to the use of biochemical markers, such as enzyme activity, to further understand the mechanisms of toxicity of PAHs and other organic pollutants in pollution-resistant fish populations, under different levels of exposure. Additionally, Marco is investigating the mechanisms of action of toxins associated with harmful algal blooms in fish through the application of in vitro models, and endocrine disruption potential of surface waters influenced by wastewater effluent using a weight of evidence (WoE) approach and rainbow trout as a model species. 


Marco has been a recipient of the C. Gus Glasscock, Jr. Endowed Fund of Excellence in Environmental Science and two Doris Kayser Stark Graduate Scholarships. He has received different travel awards to present his work at regional, national and international scientific conferences. He is a former SETAC/NASAC student representative for the SETAC South Central regional chapter and the current president of the Baylor University SETAC student chapter. Marco is originally from Guatemala City, and is also a goodwill ambassador of the City of Lafayette, LA, US. 

© 2018 by Lavado Lab. Created with