University of Vermont

The University of Vermont Cancer Center

Bio for Vernon E Walker, DVM, PhD
Vernon E Walker, DVM, PhD

Vernon E Walker, DVM, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

Contact Information
Office Location:
Pathology, 665 Spear St.

Research Interests

My research program is focused on the identification and validation of biological markers that are suitable for investigating genotoxic mechanisms, determining human exposures, and evaluating human risks associated with exposure to chemical or physical agents in the environment or as a consequence of medical therapies, activities of military personnel, or bioterrorism.  A major part of my research is concerned with the characterization of the dose effects and genotoxic risks from exposures to several important industrial chemicals and environmental pollutants that are epoxide/epoxide-forming compounds (e.g., acrylonitrile, 1,3-butadiene, and ethylene oxide) known to induce lung cancers in mice.  The long-term goals of these epoxide studies are to define shapes of the dose-response curves for stochastic effects at environmentally relevant exposure levels, to develop mechanistic-based models for describing and predicting patterns of chemically-induced DNA damage and mutations, and to establish cross-species extrapolations between biomarkers in chemical-exposed rodents and humans for more realistic biologically-based risk assessments.  Another aspect of my research is focused on the potential for azidothymidine, and other nucleoside analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), to be incorporated into host cell DNA and to act as clastogens or mutagens and mitochondrial toxins in children born to HIV-infected women who received highly active antiretroviral therapy.  Current research is directed toward the development of a new drug-based antiretroviral therapy that both inhibits HIV replication and protects against NRTI-induced DNA damage and health risks.  Additional research is focused on improving the rodent T-cell mutation assay systems and developing novel HPRT and other endogenous gene mutation assays, using organ-specific cell types such as type II pneumocytes, glial cells, hepatocytes, and mammary epithelium to assess the mutagenic and oncogenic potential of suspected human carcinogens with tissue specific tropisms.

Postdoctoral Training

1991-1993 Postdoctoral Fellow (Molecular Genetics), Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
1985-1991 Postdoctoral Trainee (Veterinary Pathology), Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology, Research Triangle Park, NC
1985-1991Graduate Fellow, Department of Pathology, Duke University, Durham, NC
1984-1985Resident (Veterinary Pathology), Department of Pathology and Parasitology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, Auburn, AL
1983-1984Resident (Comparative Pathology), Comparative Medicine Department, College of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL


1983   DVM, University of Tennesse College of Veterinary Medicine, Knoxville, TN

Academic Appointments

2009-Present   Associate Professor Research, Department of Pathology, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
2008-2009   Senior Resarch Scientist, BioMosaics, Inc., Burlington, VT
2001-2008   Clinical Associate Professor, College of Pharmacology, University of New Mexico (UNM), Albequerque, NM

Awards and Honors

2009 Editor’s Choice Manuscript for free download, Environ Mol Mutagen 50 (6): 460-472, 2009
2009 Editor’s Choice Manuscript for free download, Environ Mol Mutagen 50 (1): 10-26, 2009
2007-2012 Society of Toxicology, Carcinogenesis Specialty Section Vice President-Elect, Vice President, President, Past President
1999 Wadsworth Center Nominee for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Assistant Investigator Competition
1992 Research Proposal Consultation Award, University Animal Alternatives Research Program, The Procter and Gamble Co.
1991 Young Investigator Award, Upjohn Travel Award, American Association for Cancer Research
1991 Graduate Student Award for Meritorious Research, First Prize, Carcinogenesis Specialty Section, Society of Toxicology


Walker, D.M., Nicklas, J.A., Walker, V.E. (2013) The stress response resolution assay. II. Quantitative assessment of environmental agent/condition effects on cellular stress resolution outcomes in epithelium.Environ. Mol. Mutagen., 54:281-293.

Walker, D.M., O’Neill, J.P., Tyson, .FL., Walker, V.E. (2013) The stress response resolution assay. I. Quantitative assessment of environmental agent/condition effects on cellular stress resolution outcomes in epithelium.Environ. Mol. Mutagen., 54:268-280

Murray, J.M., Messier, T., Rivers, J., O’Neill, J.P., Walker, V.E., Vacek, P.M., and Finette, B.A. (2012) V(D)J recombinase-mediated T-cell receptor ß locus usage and processing in peripheral T-cells during perinatal and pediatric development.J. Immunol., 189(5):2356-2364

Sangaraju, D., Goggin, M., Walker, V., Swenberg, J., and Tretyakova, N. (2012) NanoHPLC-nanoESI+-MS/MS quantitation of bis-N7-guanine DNA-DNA cross-links in tissues of B6C3F1 mice exposed to sub-ppm levels of 1,3-butadiene.Analytical Chem., 84(3):1732-1739, PMC3298759

Goggin, M., Sangaraju, D., Walker, V.E., Wickliffe, J., Swenberg, J.A., Tretyakova, N. (2011) Persistence and repair of bifunctional DNA adducts in tissues of laboratory animals exposed to 1,3-butadiene by inhalation.Chem. Res. Toxicol., 24:809-817, PMC3118934