Gary D. Luker, MD
Dr. Luker’s research uses multimodality molecular imaging techniques to investigate mechanisms of disease and response to therapy in living subjects. He has developed several technologies to image protein-protein interactions and protein degradation in cell signaling, and many of these technologies have been patented and commercially licensed. These molecular imaging methods permit real-time analysis of signal transduction networks and pharmacodynamics of therapy in the complex, integrated physiology of a living animal. His laboratory is using molecular imaging to investigate functions of chemokines and chemokine receptors in cancer. Dr. Luker’s laboratory determined that chemokine receptor CXCR7 promotes primary tumor growth and metastasis in breast cancer, and he is leader in studies of a related chemokine receptor, CXCR4, in malignancy. Building on these discoveries, his laboratory now is studying molecular functions of these and other chemokine receptors in specific steps in primary and metastatic cancer. This research utilizes innovative microfluidic and imaging technologies to model tumor microenvironments, enabling studies at subcellular to macroscopic levels of resolution. Dr. Luker also is a leader in functional imaging studies of viral infection and pathogenesis. His studies on viral infection have identified dual effects of innate immune signaling molecules to limit dissemination of DNA viruses and also exacerbate severity of disease. By using imaging to investigate molecular mechanisms of disease in ways that are not possible with conventional methods, his research continues to provide new, unexpected insights into cancer biology and infectious disease.