Neuroinflammation, Banner Sun Health Research Institute
Senior Scientist, Laboratory of Neuroinflammation
Dr. Walker’s research interests have included the role of microglia, the brain resident macrophages, in inflammatory processes in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD) brains. Dr. Walker and colleagues have developed methods to isolate microglia from elderly human autopsy brains utilizing brain tissues provided by the Sun Health Research Institute Brain and Body Donation Program. With these cells, molecular biology experiments that study how microglia respond to amyloid beta peptide have been possible. Dr. Walker has recently published work utilizing gene expression profiling that identified all genes affected in amyloid stimulated microglia. From this work, novel anti-inflammatory targets relevant to AD have been uncovered. His interest in how microglia reduce their inflammation has also included studies of proteins CD200 and CD200 receptor, a unique cellular anti-inflammatory system that is dysregulated in AD and PD. His research interests have recently extended to studies using brain vascular endothelial cells isolated from elderly autopsy brains. With these cells, he has developed models of the elderly blood-brain barrier; which can be used to investigate how vascular dysfunction could be a feature of AD. Dr. Walker has received grant funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Michael J Fox Foundation, the Science Foundation of Arizona and the Arizona Alzheimer’s Research Consortium. He has served on NIH study sections, been a grant reviewer for the Alzheimer’s Association for 10 years, peer-reviewer for many academic journals, and has spoken to many different community groups in the Sun Cities.
Phone: (623) 832-5623