Current research in the Walker lab is centered around genome sequencing of myeloma patient samples, as well as patients with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM). The lab is identifying tumor acquired genomic abnormalities, including translocations, copy number changes, and mutations that cause early relapse or progression from the pre-malignant MGUS and SMM stages to clinically defined MM.
The Walker lab is using patient derived xenografts to model response to new treatments. These models can be used in pre-clinical studies to determine the efficacy of drugs in different patient backgrounds.
The Walker lab has shown that the epigenetic background differs greatly across subgroups of myeloma patients and across the course of the disease. Alterations in DNA methylation have been shown to be associated with prognosis and the control of gene expression. We are investigating how epigenetic changes at the DNA and histone levels interact with chromosomal alterations and gene expression.
Single-cell analysis reveals the complexity of myeloma heterogeneity. The lab is using this technology to investigate the effect of genomic heterogeneity on tumor evolution and response to treatment.
Additional Research Team Members
Parvathi Sudha, research associate
Sabine Wenzel, postdoctoral fellow