The Walker Lab: UMASS Medical School

The Walker Lab studies how metabolites act to regulate transcription and signaling pathways to affect lipid accumulation, stress-responses and aging.


C. elegans provide a simple, genetically tractable whole animal model for determining how changing the levels of a metabolite like SAM can affect cells or change physiological parameters such as lipid accumulation or aging.

Human Cells

We use human cell lines to test our models in a more complex environment and determine initial relevance to human biology.


Mice provides a whole animal system to model effects of changing methylation on mammalian physiology


Walker lab;
Program in Molecular Medicine
UMASS Medical School
Worcester, MA

The Walker lab is part of the Program in Molecular Medicine at UMASS Medical School. PMM has labs working on metabolism, structural biology, virology, neurobiology and development on organisms from yeast to humans. We have a bi-weekely post-doc seminar series (Confabs), a student presentation series (IGP). Within UMASS, we particiapte in MetNet, a monthly metabolism-centered seminar series with talks from UMASS labs as well as outside speakers. We also attend yearly C. elegans meetings.


Interesting Facts


Number of Genes in C. elegans


Worm genes with human orthologs


Number of somatic cells in adult worms


Number of worm labs at UMASS Medical School

Our Projects

We study how changing the level of the metabolite S-adenosylmethionine alters methylation patterns changing stress-responses, aging and lipid accumulation

Metabolite Project

Stress Response Project

Visualization Tools Project

Methylation Patterns Project


Walker lab publications, AKW publications from the Walker and Naar labs. For papers pre 2010 see: amy.walker.1/bibliography

Authors: Adwait A. Godbole, Sneha Gopalan, Thien-Kim Nguyen, Thomas G. Fazzio, Amy K. Walker.
Publication: biorxiv, 2021

Authors: Christofer M. Welsh, Lorissa J. Smulan, Matthew J. Fanelli, Dominique S. Lui,and Amy K. Walker.
Publication: Genetics, 2022 biorxiv 2021

Authors: Daniel P. Higgins, Caroline M. Weisman, Dominique S. Lui, Frank A. D’Agostino, Amy K. Walker.
Publication: Genetics, 2022 221(4)

Authors: Holdorf, A., Higgins, DP, Hart, AC, Boag, PR, Pazour GJ, Walhout, AMJ, Walker, AK.
Publication: GENETICS 2020; 214(2) 279-294

Authors: Ding, W, Higgins, DP, Yadav, DK, Godbole, Pukklia-Worley, R, and Walker. AK.
Publication: (2018). PLoS Genetics. 14(11)

Authors: Walker, AK.
Publication: (2017) Trends Endocrinol Metab. 28: 63-72

Authors: Ding W, Smulan LJ, Hou NS, Taubert S, Watts JL, Walker AK.
Publication: (2015) Cell Metabolism 22:633-45

Authors: Anders M Näär
Publication: (2012) Clinical Lipidology 7(1):27-36

Authors: Amy K. Walker, Rene ́ L. Jacobs, Jennifer L. Watts, V. Rottiers, K. Jiang, D. M. Finnegan, T. Shioda, M. Hansen, F. Yang, L. J. Niebergall, D. E. Vance, M. Tzoneva, Anne C. Hart, and Anders M. Naar.
Publication: (2011) Cell 147, 840–852

Authors: Amy K. Walker, Fajun Yang, Karen Jiang, J. Ji, J.L. Watts, Aet. al, R. Mostoslavsky, P. Puigserver, X. Li, N. J. Dyson, Anne C. Hart, and Anders M. Naar.
Publication: (2010) G&D 24:1403–1417

Lab Members

Meet our dynamic team of exceptional minds, exploring the frontiers of science and pushing the boundaries of discovery.

Amy K Walker

Still at the bench with various projects in the lab, learning some code. Outside of lab, I experiment in the kitchen, garden and puzzle-person.

Adwait Godbole

Hi, I am a postdoc in the Walker lab where I am interested in understanding how S-adenosyl methionine levels influence the transcriptional response to environmental stress conditions. Specifically I am interested in understanding the cellular role of the SAM synthases. I picked up my worm skills in a previous life in The Scripps Research Institute in Florida where I worked on a project that involved understanding the mechanism of action of age modulating compounds. If I am not in the lab, you might find me enjoying (?) a run on the Charles River Esplanade or rooting around in an antique/vintage shop.

Alex Munden

My research is centered on understanding how 1 carbon cycle metabolism directly impacts the epigenetic environment of the genome. Previously as a graduate student my work interrogated the formation of DNA:RNA hybrids during Drosophila embryogenesis. When not in the lab, I'm learning the city of Worcester, reading a good book, or watching horror movies.

Christofer Welsh
Graduate Student: Mello Scholar 2019

I am interested in exploring the role of metabolic signaling in regulation of the expression of genes that facilitate cellular homeostasis. My project involves investigating how intracellular trafficking is regulated to stabilize the Golgi apparatus during membrane stress due to abnormal lipid homeostasis. I enjoy listening to music while picking my worms. In my spare time I like playing games, reading, or cooking (and eating) different kinds of food!

Dom Lui

I’m a born and raised New Englander with a microbiology background. I’m currently working on a project looking at how phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis influences mitochondrial phenotypes. Outside the lab I enjoy trail running, drawing, and experimenting with coffee, food, and fermentation.

Kim Nguyen

Kim is a recent WPI grad working on SAM synthase expression.

Matt Fanelli

Matt is a recent Holy Cross grad working on metabolic links to secretory pathways, interested in all things Neuro.


Pictures from Lab excursions and lab members activities outside of the lab.


The Walker lab welcomes people excited about science and strives to be a diverse and inclusive environment

The Walker lab and UMass Medical School are committed to being an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer and recognize the power of a diverse community. We encourage applications from protected veterans, individuals with disabilities and those with varied experiences, perspectives and backgrounds to consider UMass Medical School as their employer of choice.

Thanks to Sammy Katta ( for the Diversity and Inclusion Lab Poster