John Wirthlin Hickey

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

The Hickey Lab sits at the interface of engineering and immunology, using and developing systems immunology tools to investigate tissue structure in situ. We also use multiplexed imaging and computational techniques to characterize spatial cellular responses related to the effectiveness of anti-cancer cell or biomaterial therapies.  John has received a number of awards for his work, including the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, ARCS Scholar, Siebel Scholar, NCI Postdoctoral Fellowship, and American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Assistant Professor in Biostatistics & Bioinformatics
  • Member of the Duke Cancer Institute

Contact Information


  • Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, 2019

Research Interests

Using and developing systems biology tools and technologies to describe and control spatial relationships between cells in tissues, particularly in cell therapies.

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship. American Cancer Society. 2020

Courses Taught

  • EGR 393: Research Projects in Engineering
  • BME 590: Special Topics in Biomedical Engineering

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Livingston, Natalie K., John W. Hickey, Hajin Sim, Sebastian F. Salathe, Joseph Choy, Jiayuan Kong, Aliyah B. Silver, et al. “In Vivo Stimulation of Therapeutic Antigen-Specific T Cells in an Artificial Lymph Node Matrix.” Advanced Materials (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) 36, no. 23 (June 2024): e2310043.
  • Jain, Sanjay, Liming Pei, Jeffrey M. Spraggins, Michael Angelo, James P. Carson, Nils Gehlenborg, Fiona Ginty, et al. “Author Correction: Advances and prospects for the Human BioMolecular Atlas Program (HuBMAP).” Nature Cell Biology 26, no. 5 (May 2024): 839.
  • Hickey, John W., Eran Agmon, Nina Horowitz, Tze-Kai Tan, Matthew Lamore, John B. Sunwoo, Markus W. Covert, and Garry P. Nolan. “Integrating multiplexed imaging and multiscale modeling identifies tumor phenotype conversion as a critical component of therapeutic T cell efficacy.” Cell Systems 15, no. 4 (April 2024): 322-338.e5.
  • Matusiak, Magdalena, John W. Hickey, David G. P. van IJzendoorn, Guolan Lu, Lukasz Kidzinski, Shirley Zhu, Deana R. C. Colburg, et al. “Spatially Segregated Macrophage Populations Predict Distinct Outcomes In Colon Cancer.” Cancer Discovery, March 2024.
  • Bialy, Nikki, Frank Alber, Brenda Andrews, Michael Angelo, Brian Beliveau, Lacramioara Bintu, Alistair Boettiger, et al. “Harmonizing the Generation and Pre-publication Stewardship of FAIR Image data.” ArXiv, February 8, 2024.