Aron E. Lukacher, MD, PhD - Basic Science Research Faculty

Aron E. Lukacher, MD, PhD

Associate Professor
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Division of Anatomic Pathology and Division of Experimental Pathology
Emory University School of Medicine

Dr. Lukacher's laboratory studies the immune response to infection by oncogenic DNA viruses. They use the well-characterized polyoma virus-mouse model. Polyoma virus, a natural mouse DNA virus, is arguably the most potent experimental oncogenic pathogen known.

A major focus of the lab's work is to elucidate mechanisms controlling induction, regulation, and maintenance of effective immunosurveillance against virus-induced neoplasia. Because oncogenic viruses persistently infect their hosts, Dr. Lukacher's lab is also interested in understanding the programming of polyoma-specific memory T cell responses in the setting of chronic encounter with viral antigens. These studies have important implications for development of vaccines to persistently infecting viruses. Most humans are persistently infected by polyomaviruses which can have devastating consequences in immunocompromised individuals.

In collaboration with Drs. Larsen and Newell (Dept.of Surgery, Emory University), Dr. Lukacher's lab has developed a kidney transplant mouse model to investigate the pathogenesis of polyomavirus-associated nephropathy, a leading cause of kidney transplant failure. The goal of this lab's research is to develop strategies to manipulate the T cell response to polyoma virus to reverse susceptibility to virus-induced tumorigenesis and prevent kidney transplant rejection.

Recent Publications (2005 – 2006)

  • Kemball, C.C., E.D.H. Lee, E. Szomolanyi-Tsuda, T.C. Pearson, C.P. Larsen, and A.E. Lukacher. 2006. Costimulation requirements for antiviral CD8+ T cells differs for acute and persistent phases of polyoma virus infection. J. Immunol., in press.  
  • Lee, E.D.H., C.C. Kemball, J. Wang, Y. Dong, D.C. Stapler, Jr., K.M. Hamby, K.A. Newell, T.C. Pearson, A.E. Lukacher, and C.P. Larsen. 2006. A mouse model for polyomavirus-associated nephropathy of kidney transplants. Am. J. Transplant., in press.  
  • Kumar, S., M.J. Skeen, Y. Adiri, H. Yoon, V.D. Vezys, A.E. Lukacher, B.D. Evavold, H.K. Ziegler, and J.M. Boss. 2006. A cytokine promoter/yellow fluorescent protein reporter transgene serves as an early activation marker of lymphocyte subsets. Cell. Immunol., in press.  
  • Kemball, C.C., E.D.H. Lee, V.Vezys, T.C. Pearson, C.P. Larsen, and A.E. Lukacher. 2005. Late priming and variability in epitope-specific CD8+ T cell responses during a persistent virus infection. J. Immunol.174:7590-7960