John R. Lukens, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience and the Center for Brain Immunology and Glia (BIG) at the University of Virginia.

Dr. Lukens is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Neuroscience and the Center for Brain Immunology and Glia (BIG) at the University of Virginia. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 2008 for his work describing roles for PD-1 and T cell exhaustion in persistent liver infection. For his postdoctoral training, he worked in the laboratory of Dr. Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital where he identified molecular pathways involved in innate cytokine production and cell death. In Fall 2014, John returned to the University of Virginia to launch his lab that is focused on understanding the role of the innate immune system in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Twitter handle: @LukensJohnR 

Lab website:

Funded Research

These projects were made possible from Cure Alzheimer's Fund support.

Selected Publications

These published papers resulted from Cure Alzheimer’s Fund support.

Samuels, J. D., Moore, K. A., Ennerfelt, H. E., Johnson, A. M., Walsh, A. E., Price, R. J., & Lukens, J. R. The Alzheimer’s disease risk factor INPP5D restricts neuroprotective microglial responses in amyloid beta-mediated pathology, Alzheimer's & Dementia, April 15, 2023, Read More

Ennerfelt, H., Frost, E. L., Shapiro, D. A., Holliday, C., Zengeler, K. E., Voithofer, G., Bolte, A. C., Lammert, C. R., Kulas, J. A., Ulland, T. K., & Lukens, J. R. SYK coordinates neuroprotective microglial responses in neurodegenerative disease, Cell, October 17, 2022, Read More

Ennerfelt, H., & Lukens, J. R. Microglia rely on SYK signalling to mount neuroprotective responses in models of Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis, Clinical and Translational Medicine, January 11, 2023, Read More

Mangalmurti A, Lukens JR. How neurons die in Alzheimer’s disease: Implications for neuroinflammation, Current Opinion in Neurobiology, June 10, 2022, Read More

Johnson, A. M., & Lukens, J. R. The innate immune response in tauopathies, European Journal of Immunoogy, March 18, 2023, Read More

Lukens, J. R., & Williams, J. L. An introduction to neuroimmunology, Immunological Reviews, August 30, 2022, Read More

Samuels, J. D., Lukens, J. R., & Price, R. J. Emerging roles for ITAM and ITIM receptor signaling in microglial biology and Alzheimer’s disease-related amyloidosis, Journal of Neurochemistry, October 11, 2023, Read More

Ennerfelt, H., Holliday, C., Shapiro, D. A., Zengeler, K. E., Bolte, A. C., Ull|, T. K., & Lukens, J. R. CARD9 attenuates Aβ pathology and modifies microglial responses in an Alzheimer’s disease mouse model, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, June 5, 2023, Read More