R. Lee Franco

R. Lee Franco, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Department Chair

(804) 828-1948

813 W Franklin ST (new STEM building 6th floor)


  • Ph.D., Rehabilitation and Movement Science, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • M.S., Exercise Science, The University of Southern Mississippi

Research Interests

The Healthy Heart Lab at VCU focuses on understanding the importance of lifestyle behaviors (e.g., physical activity, fitness, sleep, and nutrition) in modulating the vascular and inflammatory response associated with cardiovascular health inequities.

Select Publications

  • Blanks A.M., Pedersen L.N., Caslin H.L., Mihalick V.L., Via J., Canada J.M., Van Tassell B., Carbone S., Abbate A., Franco R.L. LPS Differentially Affects Expression of CD14 and CCR2 in Monocyte Subsets of Post-STEMI Patients with Impaired Glucose. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. 2022
  • Mauro A.G., Mezzaroma E., Toldo S., Melendez G., Franco R.L., Lesnefsky E.J., Abbate A., Hundley W.G., Salloum F.N. NLRP3-mediated Inflammation in CardioOncology: Sterile yet Harmful. Translational Research. 2022.
  • Kim Y., Franco R.L., Lucas A.R., Sutton A.L., LaRose J.G., Kenyon J., Via J., Cheng R.K., Sheppard V.B., Hundley G.W. Prevalence of Cardiovascular Diseases Among Breast Cancer Survivors: Findings from the NHANES 2003-2018. American Journal of Health Promotion. 2022.
  • Blanks A.M., Pedersen L.N., Bohmke N., Mihalick V.L., Franco R.L. Sex Differences in Monocyte CCR2 Expression and Macrophage Polarization Following Acute Exercise. Life Sciences. 2022.
  • Sutton A.L., Felix A.S., Wahl S., Franco R.L., Leicht Z., Williams K.P., Hundley W.G., Sheppard V.B. Racial Disparities in Treatment-Related Cardiotoxicities Amongst Women with Breast Cancer: A Scoping Review. Journal of Cancer Survivorship. April, 2022.

View more publications


  • American Physiological Society, ID# 00184786
  • American Heart Association, ID# 00291926863
  • American College of Sports Medicine, ID# 573393


  • REMS 705: Metabolic Aspects of Physical Activity
  • REMS 702: Advanced Exercise Physiology II
  • REMS 701: Advanced Exercise Physiology I
  • HEMS 604: Sport Nutrition