Department of Medicine
Faculty Profiles by Division

Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine

Faculty Profiles

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photo Aisha L. Walker, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Medicine


Phone: 412-383-7156

Office: Starzl Biomedical Science Tower, E1226-0A
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Phone: 412-383-7156
Administrative Assistant:
Kathy Brickett
Phone: 412-624-3239
Fax: 412-648-5980
Education and Training
BS, Presbyterian College, Clinton, SC, 2002
PhD, Georgia Regents University, Augusta, GA, 2008
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Hematology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 2011
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Pharmaceutical Sciences, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 2014
Research Interest
Dr. Walker’s primary research goal is to identify novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of sickle cell disease (SCD). Her current projects are focused on identifying cellular and molecular modulators that mediate efficacy and toxicity of hydroxyurea, which is currently the only FDA approved drug for SCD. Dr. Walker’s work was the first to identify specific cell membrane transporters and microRNAs associated with the pharmacokinetics and clinical outcomes of hydroxyurea. Her current projects evaluate how the expression of the transporters and microRNAs modulate fetal hemoglobin induction and cytotoxicity of hydroxyurea in hematopoietic progenitor cells. Identifying these and other mechanisms that regulate action of hydroxyurea may aid in the development of new therapeutic regimens and treatment strategies for SCD.
Selected Publications:
Owusu-Ansah, A, Ihunnah, CA, Walker, AL, Ofori-Acquah, SF. Inflammatory targets of therapy in sickle cell disease. Transl Res. 2015; Epub ahead of print.
Walker, AL, Lancaster, CS, Finklestein, D, Ware, RE, Sparreboom, A. Organic anion transporting polypeptide 1B (OATP1B) transporters modulate hydroxyurea pharmacokinetics. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2013; 305(12): C1223-9.
Lancaster, CS, Sprowl, JA, Walker, AL, Gibson, AA, Sparreboom, A. Modulation of OATP1B-type transporter function alters cellular uptake and disposition of platinum chemotherapeutics. Mol Cancer Ther. 2013; 12(8): 1537-44.
De Graan, AM, Lancaster, CS, Obaidat, A, Hagenbuch, B, Elens, L, Friberg, LE, De Bruijn, P, Hu, S, Gibson, AA, Bruun, GH, Corydon, TJ, Mikkelsen, TS, Walker, AL, Du, G, Loos, WJ, Van Schaik, RHN, Baker, SD, Mathijssen, RHJ, Sparreboom, A. Influence of polymorphic OATP1B-type carriers on the disposition of docetaxel. Clin Cancer Res. 2012; 18(16): 4433-40.
Walker, AL, Steward, S, Howard, TA, Smeltzer, M, Wang, Y-D, Ware, RE. Epigenetic and molecular profiles of erythroid cells after hydroxyurea treatment in sickle cell anemia. Blood. 2011; 118: 5664-70.
Sponsored Research/Activities
Title: Mechanisms of Hydroxyurea Efficacy and Toxicity in Sickle Cell Disease
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute
Grant Number: K01 HL133518
Start Year: 2017
End Year: 2022