Vascular Medicine Institute
University of Pittsburgh
BST E1240
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Phone: 412-383-5853
Fax: 412-648-5980

Aisha L. Walker, PhD, MPH


Aisha Walker


Aisha Walker, PhD, MPH

Research Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine

E1226-0A BST
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Phone: 412-383-7156
Lab Phone: 412-648-9427
Email: alw162@pitt.edu

Ofori-Acquah Lab

Mentor: Pittsburgh Intensive Training in Hematology Research



Dr. Walker is a Research Assistant Professor in the Vascular Medicine Institute at University of Pittsburgh.  She received her PhD in Cell Biology and Anatomy from Georgia Regents University where she studied the role of bone marrow derived stem cells in repairing the brain following stroke. Dr. Walker went on to complete her postdoctoral training at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She was awarded the St Jude Sickle Cell Disease Center Diggs fellowship to conduct studies investigating protein transporters and miRNAs related to the pharmacology of the drug hydroxyurea. Dr. Walker is currently a Sickle Cell Scholar at Pitt. Her basic and translational research projects continue to investigate mechanisms related to pharmacologic therapies for sickle cell disease.

Research Interests

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.


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


Owusu-Ansah A, Ihunnah CA, Walker AL, Ofori-Acquah SF. (2015). Inflammatory targets of therapy in sickle cell disease. Transl Res. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 26226206.

Walker AL, Lancaster CS, Finklestein D, Ware RE, Sparreboom A. (2013). Organic anion transporting polypeptide 1B (OATP1B) transporters modulate hydroxyurea pharmacokinetics. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 305(12): C1223-9. PMID: 23986199. PMCID: PMC3882360.

Lancaster CS, Sprowl JA, Walker AL, Gibson AA, Sparreboom A. (2013). Modulation of OATP1B-type transporter function alters cellular uptake and disposition of platinum chemotherapeutics. Mol Cancer Ther. 12(8):1537-44. PMID: 23757163. PMCID: PMC3742713.

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. (2012). Influence of polymorphic OATP1B-type carriers on the disposition of docetaxel. Clin Cancer Res. 18(16):4433-40. PMID: 22711709. PMCID: PMC3464009.

Walker AL, Steward S, Howard TA, Smeltzer M, Wang Y-D, Ware RE. (2011). Epigenetic and molecular profiles of erythroid cells after hydroxyurea treatment in sickle cell anemia. Blood. 118:5664-70. PMID: 21921042. PMCID: PMC3217365.

Walker AL, Franke RM, Sparreboom A, Ware RE. (2011). Transcellular movement of hydroxyurea is mediated by specific solute carrier transporters. Exp Hematol. 39(4):446-56. PMID: 21256917.

Miller JT, Bartley JH, Wimborne HC, Walker AL, Hess DC, Hill WD, Carroll JE. (2005). The Neuroblast and Angioblast Chemotaxic Factor SDF-1 (CXCL12) Expression is Briefly Upregulated by Reactive Astrocytes in Brain Following Neonatal Hypoxic-Ischemic Injury. BMC Neurosci. 6:63. PMOD: 16259636. PMCID: PMC1298306.

Vinson AE, Walker A, Elam D, Glendenning M, Kutlar F, Clair B, Harbin J, Kutlar A. (2004). A Novel Approach to Rapid Determination of bs Globin Haplotypes: Sequencing of the Ag-IVS-II Region. Hemoglobin. 28(4):317-23.​ PMID: 15658187.

Pubmed link