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David H. Walker, M.D.
Professor, Department of Pathology

David H. Walker, M.D. David H. Walker, M.D.
Professor
Department of Pathology

University of Texas Medical Branch
Keiller Building, Rm 1.116
301 University Blvd.
Galveston, Texas 77555-0609
Phone: 409.722.3989
Fax: 409.772.1850
Email: dwalker@utmb.edu

Education

Degree/Training Completed Year Name & Location
B.A. 1965 Davidson College, Davidson, NC
M.D. 1969 Vanderbilt University, School of Medicine, Nashville, TN
Tropical Pathology Research 1971 Gorgas Memorial Laboratory, Panama City, Republic of Panama
Residency 1973 Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston, MA

Overview

My research interests focus on arthropod transmitted-obligately intracellular Rickettsia, Ehrlichia, and Orientia. Excellent mouse models and state-of-the-art immunologic approaches are employed to elucidate mechanisms of immunity and pathogenesis and vaccine development. Other key activities include international collaboration in Mexico, Brazil, Portugal, and Cameroon.

Research Interests

During his residency in Pathology at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (1969-1973), Dr. Walker performed six months of research at the Gorgas Memorial Institute in Panama investigating Chagas' disease and gaining additional field, hospital, and clinical experiences with malaria, leishmaniasis, and other tropical diseases.

He served as a commissioned research medical officer in the USPHS (1973-1975) at the CDC where he investigated Lassa fever, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

He developed a career as an independent investigator at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1975-1987) where he established a BSL-3 laboratory and studied clinical Rocky Mountain spotted fever and NIH-funded projects on rickettsial pathogenesis and immunity. He collaborated with scientists in China and Sicily in field and clinical studies.

Since joining UTMB in 1987, Dr. Walker led the construction of the Robert E. Shope Laboratory, the first BSL-4 laboratory on an academic campus in the US. Under his leadership as Principal Investigator of the Western Regional Center of Excellence in Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, diagnostics and vaccines are being developed for numerous infectious diseases.

He has served on the Armed Forces Epidemiology Board, the Defense Health Board, and the National Research Council Standing Committee on Biodefense and is Associate Editor of Emerging Infectious Diseases and PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Dr. Walker's research has elucidated mechanisms of immunity to Rickettsia and Ehrlichia, developed animal models for investigating rickettsioses and ehrlichioses, and contributed to elucidating the pathology and pathophysiology of Lassa fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Mediterranean spotted fever, and human monocytotropic ehrlichiosis. Among emerging infections, he contributed to the discovery, characterization, and/or epidemiology of Anaplasma phagocytophilum (human granulocytotropic anaplasmosis), Rickettsia japonica (Japanese spotted fever), R. felis (flea-borne spotted fever), and E. chaffeensis (human monocytotropic ehrlichiosis). His efforts have enhanced the science of rickettsiology in China, Sicily, Mexico, Brazil, Peru and Cameroon. His research has led to 280 primary peer-reviewed research articles, 44 chapters in published proceedings, 44 state-of-the-art review articles and 10 patents. His scholarly works include 143 book chapters and eight books. His commitment to high quality dissemination of up-to-date knowledge of tropical medicine is exemplified in third edition of Tropical Infectious Diseases: Principles, Pathogens, and Practice.

Selected Publications

  1. Walker DH, Ismail N. 2008. Emerging and re-emerging rickettsioses: Endothelial cell infection and early disease events. Nat Rev Microbiol 6:375-386. PMID 18414502.
  2. Fang R, Ismail N, Shelite T, Walker DH. 2009. CD4+CD25+ Foxp3- T regulatory cells produce both IFN-γ and IL-10 during acute severe murine spotted fever rickettsiosis. Infect Immun 77:3838-3849. Doi: 10.1128/IAI.00349-09. PMCID: PMC2738046.
  3. Stevenson HL, Estes DM, Thirumalapura NR, Walker DH, Ismail N. 2010. Natural killer cells promote tissue injury and systemic inflammatory responses during fatal Ehrlichia-induced toxic shock-like syndrome. Am J Pathol 177:766-776. PMCID: PMC2913354.
  4. Guerrant RL, Walker DH, Weller PF. 2011. Tropical Infectious Diseases: Principles, Pathogens, and Practice, 3rd Ed, London: Saunders Elsevier.

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