Cancer Institute

  • Larry A. Walker

    Director, National Center for Natural Products Research
    Research Professor of Pharmacology
    Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
    Associate Director for Basic Research, Oxford Campus

    PhD, Pharmacology, 1979, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
    Postdoc, 1979-81, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH
    Postdoc, 1979, Bosch Institute for Klin. Pharmakologie, Stuttgart, Germany

    Contact information 
    P.O. Box 1848
    Thad Cochran Research Center, Room 1019
    Phone: (662) 915-1005


    Research interests

    • Drug discovery and development from natural products
    • Efficacy and hematological toxicity of 8-aminoquinoline anti-infectives
    • Medicinal plants and their pharmacology and toxicology

    Research synopsis

    Dr. Walker is the director of the National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR) at The University of Mississippi (UM). In 1987 he was tapped to lead a natural products discovery biological screening program at UM, and this unit was transferred to form the core of the discovery operation when the NCNPR opened in 1995. At that time he assumed responsibilities as Associate Director of NCNPR, and in 2001, he was named Director. He is thus currently responsible for overall scientific direction of a multidisciplinary program (chemistry, biochemistry, botany, microbiology, cell biology, pharmacology/toxicology), with a current staff of 85 (35 PhD level research scientists and faculty). He maintains an active research program in the discovery of natural products and mechanisms of action, and in the development of the 8-aminoquinoline anti-infectives, probing their pharmacology, bioactivation, pharmacokinetics, and toxicity issues. The discovery efforts of the NCNPR have recently been expanded to include pathways/targets relevant to cancer. In 2008/9, Dr. Walker served on the steering committee for the UM Medical Center Cancer Institute and participated in the search for selection of a new director. In 2010 he was named Associate Director for Basic Science (Oxford campus) for the Cancer Institute, and in early 2011, a Cancer Drug Discovery Core was established at the NCNPR.

    Recent accomplishments and honors

    •  2009 - FDA Commissioner's Special Citation Award
    • 2009 - University of Mississippi Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award
    • 2005/07 - National Cancer Institute's PDQ Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine Editorial Board

    Selected publications

    • Khan S, Zhao J, Khan IA, Dasmahapatra AK, and Walker LA. "Regulation of Breast Cancer-Associated Aromatase Promoters: Potential Utility of Natural Products". Repro. Biol. Endocrinol., Accepted, May 2011.
    • Ying T, Jeffries C, Ruan H, Nelson C, Smithson D, Shelat AA, Brown K, Li XC, Hester JP, Smillie T, Khan IA, Walker LA, Guy K, Yan B. "An Automated High-Throughput System to Fractionate Plant Natural Products for Drug Discovery." J Nat Prod. 2010 April 23; 73(4): 751-754.
    • Samoylenko V, Jacob MR, Khan SI, Zhao J, Tekwani BL, Midiwo JO, Walker LA, Muhammad I. Antimicrobial, antiparasitic and cytotoxic spermine alkaloids from Albizia schimperiana. Nat Prod Commun. 4:791-6, 2009.
    • Ganesan S, Tekwani BL, Sahu R, Tripathi LM, Walker LA. Cytochrome P(450)-dependent toxic effects of primaquine on human erythrocytes. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2009 Nov 15;241(1):14-22. Epub 2009 Jul 17.
    • Madgula VL, Ashfaq MK, Wang YH, Avula B, Khan IA, Walker LA, Khan SI. Bioavailability, pharmacokinetics, and tissue distribution of the oxypregnane steroidal glycoside P57AS3 (P57) from Hoodia gordonii in mouse model. Planta Med. 2010 Oct;76(14):1582-6. Epub 2010 Apr 22.