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Micah Alan Luftig

Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Duke Box 3054, 424 CARL, Durham, NC 27710
213 Research Dr, CARL 0036, BOX_3054, Durham, NC 27710


The Luftig laboratory studies viruses that cause cancer with an overarching goal of defining the basic molecular mechanisms underlying pathogenesis and leveraging these findings for diagnostic value and therapeutic intervention. Our work primarily focuses on the common herpesvirus, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). This virus latently infects virtually all adults worldwide being acquired early in life. In the immune suppressed, EBV promotes lymphomas in the B cells that it naturally infects. However, EBV can also infect epithelial cells and other lymphocytes contributing to human cancers as wide-ranging as nasopharyngeal and gastric carcinoma to aggressive NK/T-cell, Burkitt, and Hodgkin lymphomas. Overall, EBV contributes to approximately 2% of all human cancers worldwide leading to nearly 200,000 deaths annually.

We use cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary and highly collaborative approaches to characterize the temporal dynamics and single cell heterogeneity of EBV infection. With these strategies, we aim to discover fundamental molecular circuits underlying transcriptional control, viral manipulation of host signaling pathways, and metabolic regulation that collectively influence infected cell fate decisions. By understanding the nature of viral control of infected host cells, we are also well positioned to discover vulnerabilities in EBV-associated diseases and characterize new therapeutic interventions in cell-based and pre-clinical animal models.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology · 2023 - Present Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Basic Science Departments
Vice-Chair in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology · 2017 - Present Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Basic Science Departments
Professor of Medicine · 2023 - Present Medicine, Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy, Medicine
Professor of Integrative Immunobiology · 2023 - Present Integrative Immunobiology, Basic Science Departments
Professor in Cell Biology · 2024 - Present Cell Biology, Basic Science Departments
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute · 2007 - Present Duke Cancer Institute, Institutes and Centers

Education, Training & Certifications

Harvard University · 2003 Ph.D.