Gary Luker, M.D.

Associate Professor of Radiology
Associate Professor of Microbiology & Immunology
Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering


Gary Luker, M.D., Associate Professor of Radiology and Microbiology and Immunology, completed his medical training, residency in diagnostic radiology, and fellowship training in pediatric radiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. He completed a research fellowship in the Molecular Imaging Center at Washington University prior to coming to the University of Michigan in 2004. His laboratory focuses on two areas of research: innate immunity to viruses, including vaccinia and herpes simplex type 1, and cellular and molecular mechanisms that control progression from primary to metastatic breast cancer. For both of these areas, the laboratory uses a variety of imaging approaches to detect and quantify cellular and molecular regulation of pathogenesis and disease outcome.

Research Interests

Chemokines and chemokine receptors are emerging as key regulators of primary tumor growth and progression to metastatic disease.  In particular, chemokine CXCL12 (also referred to as SDF-1) and chemokine receptor CXCR4 are proposed to promote proliferation of tumor cells, tumor angiogenesis, cell invasion, and organ-specific metastases in more than 20 different human cancers.  Recent studies have identified CXCR7 as a second receptor for CXCL12.  CXCR7 is upregulated in a large number of human cancers and tumor-associated blood vessels, and expression of CXCR7 promotes tumor growth in mice.  Our laboratory is investigating independent and integrated functions of these chemokine receptors in cancer, focusing on breast and ovarian cancer.  As part of this research, we develop and apply new molecular imaging techniques and microtechnologies to investigate chemokine receptor signaling and functions in living cells, physiologic cell culture models, and living animal models of disease.


Cavnar SP, Ray P, Moudgil P, Chang SL, Luker KE, Linderman JJ, Takayama S, Luker GD. Microfluidic source-sink model reveals effects of biophysically distinct CXCL12 isoforms in breast cancer chemotaxis. Integr Biol (Camb) 2014;6:564-576.

Ray P, Stacer AC, Fenner J, Cavnar S, Meguiar K, Brown M, Luker KE, Luker GD. CXCL12- in primary tumors drives breast cancer metastasis. Oncogene 2014; Jun 9;0. doi: 10.1038/onc.2014.157. [Epub ahead of print].

Ehrlich A, Ray P, Luker KE, Lolis EJ, Luker GD. Allosteric peptide regulators of chemokine receptors CXCR4 and CXCR7. Biochem Pharm 2013;86:1263-1271.

Luker KE, Mihalko LA, Schimidt BT, Lewin SA, Ray P, Shcherbo D, Chudakov DM, Luker GD. In Vivo Imaging of Ligand Receptor Binding with Gaussia Luciferase Complementation. Nat Med 2012;18(1):172-177.

Luker KE, Lewin SA, Mihalko LA, Schmidt BT, Winkler JS, Thomas DG, Luker GD. Scavenging of CXCL12 by CXCR7 promotes tumor growth and metastasis of CXCR4-positive breast cancer cells. Oncogene 2012; 31:4750-4758.

Ray P, Mihalko LA, Coggins NL, Moudgil P, Ehrlich A, Luker KE, Luker GD. Carboxy-terminus of CXCR7 regulates receptor localization and function. Int J Biochem Cell Biol 2012;44(4):669-678.

Salomonnson E, Mihalko LA, Verkhusha VV, Luker KE, Luker GD. Cell-based and in vivo spectral analysis of fluorescent proteins for multiphoton microscopy. J Biomed Opt 2012;17:96001.

Luker KE, Steele JM, Mihalko LA, Ray P, Luker GD. Constitutive and chemokine-dependent internalization and recycling of CXCR7 in breast cancer cells to degrade chemokine ligands. Oncogene. 2010 Jun 7. (in press)

Luker KE, Luker GD. Bioluminescence imaging of reporter mice for studies of infection and inflammation. Antiviral Res. 2010 Apr;86(1):93-100.

Luker KE, Luker GD. Real-time bioluminescence imaging of viral pathogenesis. Methods Mol Biol. 2009;574:125-35.

Song JW, Cavnar SP, Walker AC, Luker KE, Gupta M, Tung YC, Luker GD, Takayama S. Microfluidic endothelium for studying the intravascular adhesion of metastatic breast cancer cells. PLoS One. 2009 Jun 1;4(6):e5756.

Luker KE, Gupta M, Steele JM, Foerster BR, Luker GD. Imaging ligand-dependent activation of CXCR7. Neoplasia. 2009 Oct;11(10):1022-35.

Luker KE, Gupta M, Luker GD. Imaging chemokine receptor dimerization with firefly luciferase complementation. FASEB J. 2009 Mar;23(3):823-34. Epub 2008 Nov 10.

Past Student Advisees