Heather Gibson

Heather Gibson

Assistant Professor



Heather Gibson


4100 John R, HWCRC 823 Detroit, MI 48201

Office Address

Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
4100 John R, HWCRC 823
Detroit, MI 48201 


Mark Gregory
Alexander Ullrich
James Glassbrook Graduated 2/15/2023 Biochemistry, Microbiology, Immunology
Justin Hackett Graduated 1/20/2023 Cancer Biology



Research Interests

• Genetic regulation of immune response, particularly in the context of anti-tumor immunity
• Development of new immunotherapy strategies
• Regulation of T cell trafficking and activation in the tumor microenvironment (TME)
• Modulation of macrophages in the TME
• Imaging modalities to monitor immune activity in situ


Research Description

Cancer immunotherapy breakthroughs have shown tremendous promise, but there remains an urgency to determine which patients will respond and why many do not. My lab uses functional genomics and genetically diverse animal models to pinpoint genes and/or pathways involved in immunotherapy resistance. We have discovered putative regulators of both immune checkpoint inhibitors and anti-tumor antibody, also known as targeted immunotherapy. The goal is to identify both biomarkers and actionable targets to improve clinical outcomes. Additionally, we have multiple ongoing collaborative projects aimed at developing new strategies to engage the immune system against cancer.

Selected publications

Pubmed link to all Publications

Allison V Mitchell, Ling Wu, C James Block, Mu Zhang, Justin Hackett, Douglas B Craig, Wei Chen, Yongzhong Zhao, Bin Zhang, Yongjun Dang, Xiaohong Zhang, Shengping Zhang, Chuangui Wang, Heather Gibson, Lori A Pile, Benjamin Kidder, Larry Matherly, Zhe Yang, Yali Dou, Guojun Wu. FOXQ1 recruits the MLL complex to activate transcription of EMT and promote breast cancer metastasis. Nature Communications 2022;13:6548. 

Hackett J, Gibson H, Frelinger J, Buntzman A. Using the Collaborative Cross and Diversity Outbred Mice in Immunology. Curr Protoc. 2022;2:e547. 

Wallace-Povirk A, Rubinsak L, Malysa A, Dzinic SH, Ravindra M, Schneider M, Glassbrook J, O'Connor C, Hou Z, Kim S, Back J, Polin L, Morris RT, Gangjee A, Gibson H, Matherly LH. Targeted therapy of pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidine antifolates in a syngeneic mouse model of high grade serous ovarian cancer and the impact on the tumor microenvironment. Sci Rep. 2022;12:11346. 

Viola NT, Glassbrook JE, Kalluri JR, Hackett JB, Wicker MN, Sternberg J, Gibson HM. Evaluation of an ImmunoPET Tracer for IL-12 in a Preclinical Model of Inflammatory Immune Responses. Front Immunol. 2022;13:870110. 

Toupin N, Herroon MK, Thummel RP, Turro C, Podgorski I, Gibson H, Kodanko JJ. Metalloimmunotherapy with Rhodium and Ruthenium Complexes: Targeting Tumor-Associated Macrophages. Chemistry. 2022;28:e202104430. 

Hackett JB, Glassbrook JE, Muñiz MC, Bross M, Fielder A, Dyson G, Movahhedin N, McCasland J, McCarthy-Leo C, Gibson HM. A diversity outbred F1 mouse model identifies host-intrinsic genetic regulators of response to immune checkpoint inhibitors. Oncoimmunology. 2022;11:2064958. 




BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2004): Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
PhD in Immunology (2011): Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan

Courses Taught

CB7210 Fundamentals of Cancer Biology
CB7300 Grant Writing Workshop
CB7410 Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy (Course Director)
CB8920 Principles of Clinical and Translational Cancer Research
IM7010 Biomedical Immunobiology
IM7300 Molecular Biology of Viruses
PHC7410 Principles of Toxicology
CHM7680/6680 - Clinical and Molecular Aspects of Cancer

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