Welcome to the Walker Lab Homepage. Our lab is based in the Center for Genomic Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. We are also a part of the Broad Cancer Program based at the Broad Institute.
Our research focuses primarily on neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), a genetic disorder disorder with an incidence of one in 3,000–4,000 people. Most adults with NF1 develop neurofibromas – benign, but often disfiguring, tumors associated with peripheral nerves. About 10% of NF1 patients develop malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs), which carry a poor prognosis and are often fatal. However, NF1 is a chronic multi-system disorder affecting many different tissues with non-tumor symptoms including vascular and skeletal abnormalities, as well as cognitive deficits.
We utilize a combination of genetic, molecular and biochemical approaches and both animal and human cell models to improve our mechanistic understanding of NF1 and identify therapeutic targets. The laboratory is currently supported by funds from the National Institutes of Health, The Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF) and the Neurofibromatosis Therapeutic Acceleration Program (NTAP).