Michael Walter



8-32 Medical Sciences Buildling
Office: 780.492.9044
Lab: 780.492.3028
Email: mwalter@ualberta.ca
Dr. Walter is a Professor of Medical Genetics whose research focuses on the genetics of developmental abnormalities of the eye and glaucoma. He has a BSc from the University of Guelph, a PhD from the University of Toronto, and completed postdoctoral fellowships in England at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and the University of Cambridge. Dr. Walter joined the University of Alberta in 1993 and was Chair of the Department of Medical Genetics from April 2005 until March 2020. Dr. Walter is an editor of the journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science, and the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology.
The Walter lab is focused on understanding the molecular genetics of human disease. For 20 years we have researched the genes that, when mutated, cause the blinding condition glaucoma. Our research has demonstrated that mutations of the transcription factor FOXC1 result in inherited forms of glaucoma through mechanisms involving impaired ability to respond to glaucoma medications, stress response and aberrant development. We have also recently shown that the most common form of glaucoma in young males, pigmentary glaucoma, is the results of key genes involved in the production of melanocytes. In parallel, we are determining how an over abundance of FOXC1 results in aggressive cellular phenotypes associated with basal-like breast cancer.
Selected Publications:
FOXC1 Regulates Expression of Prostaglandin Receptors Leading to an Attenuated Response to Latanoprost
Doucette LP, Footz T, Walter MA.
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2018 May 1;59(6):2548-2554. doi: 10.1167/iovs.17-23223.
PMID: 29847662 [PubMed - in process]

Accurate prediction of functional, structural, and stability changes in PITX2 mutations using in silico bioinformatics algorithms
Seifi M, Walter MA.
PLoS One. 2018 Apr 17;13(4):e0195971. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0195971. eCollection 2018.
PMID: 29664915 [PubMed - in process]

Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome
Seifi M, .
Clin Genet. 2018 Jun;93(6):1123-1130. doi: 10.1111/cge.13148. Epub 2018 Jan 25. Review.
PMID: 28972279 [PubMed - in process]

Mutations of conserved non-coding elements of PITX2 in patients with ocular dysgenesis and developmental glaucoma
Protas ME, Weh E, Footz T, Kasberger J, Baraban SC, Levin AV, Katz LJ, Ritch R, Walter MA, Semina EV, Gould DB.
Hum Mol Genet. 2017 Sep 15;26(18):3630-3638. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddx251.
PMID: 28911203 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

FOXC1 modulates MYOC secretion through regulation of the exocytic proteins RAB3GAP1, RAB3GAP2 and SNAP25
Rasnitsyn A, Doucette L, Seifi M, Footz T, Raymond V, Walter MA.
PLoS One. 2017 Jun 2;12(6):e0178518. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0178518. eCollection 2017.
PMID: 28575017 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Comparison of Bioinformatics Prediction, Molecular Modeling, and Functional Analyses of FOXC1 Mutations in Patients with Axenfeld-Rieger Syndrome
Seifi M, Footz T, Taylor SA, Walter MA.
Hum Mutat. 2017 Feb;38(2):169-179. doi: 10.1002/humu.23141. Epub 2016 Nov 21.
PMID: 27804176 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Novel PITX2 gene mutations in patients with Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome
Seifi M, Footz T, Taylor SA, Elhady GM, Abdalla EM, Walter MA.
Acta Ophthalmol. 2016 Nov;94(7):e571-e579. doi: 10.1111/aos.13030. Epub 2016 Mar 24.
PMID: 27009473 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Prostaglandins in the eye: Function, expression, and roles in glaucoma
Doucette LP, Walter MA.
Ophthalmic Genet. 2017 Mar-Apr;38(2):108-116. doi: 10.3109/13816810.2016.1164193. Epub 2016 Apr 12. Review.
PMID: 27070211 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

The interactions of genes, age, and environment in glaucoma pathogenesis
Doucette LP, Rasnitsyn A, Seifi M, Walter MA.
Surv Ophthalmol. 2015 Jul-Aug;60(4):310-26. doi: 10.1016/j.survophthal.2015.01.004. Epub 2015 Feb 4. Review.
PMID: 25907525 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Dysfunction of the stress-responsive FOXC1 transcription factor contributes to the earlier-onset glaucoma observed in Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome patients
Ito YA, Goping IS, Berry F, Walter MA.
Cell Death Dis. 2014 Feb 20;5:e1069. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2014.8. Erratum in: Cell Death Dis. 2014;5:e1430.
PMID: 24556684 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE

Genomics and anterior segment dysgenesis: a review
Ito YA, Goping IS, Berry F, Walter MA.
Cell Death Dis. 2014 Feb 20;5:e1069. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2014.8. Erratum in: Cell Death Dis. 2014;5:e1430.
PMID: 24556684 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE
Tim Footz - Senior Research Technician
Fahed Elian - Graduate Student
Adrian Lahola-Chomiak - MSc 2018
Morteza Seifi - PhD 2017
Alexandra Rasnitsyn - MSc 2016
Yoko Ito - PhD 2013
Christina Fetterman - PhD 2011
Hermina Strungaru - PhD 2010
Chanchal Birdi - MSc 2009
Lijia Huang - PhD 2009
Matthew Lines - MSc 2004
Michael Sharp - MSc 2004
Ramsey Saleem - PhD 2003
Douglas Gould - PhD 2001