W. Allan Walker

Department of Nutrition

655 Huntington Avenue
Building II 3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02115
Phone: 617.432.4166

Other Affiliations

Professor in the Department of Nutrition, HSPH


The overall mission of the Developmental Gastroenterology Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital-East has been in the development of gastrointestinal host defenses, particularly as they pertain to the role of enteric nutrients.

We have studied the passive and active properties of human breast milk, specifically in the pre-term infant as it relates to necrotizing enterocolitis, a devastating gastrointestinal infection in the neonatal period. We have also developed human models of intestinal development (cell lines, organ cultures, microUssing chambers and fetal intestinal xenografts) to determine the effect of protective nutrients (pre- and probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, nucleotides, etc.) on stimulating mucosal defenses in the immature intestine and in preventing neonatal diseases.

A major commitment of this laboratory is to train clinical/postdoctoral fellows in clinical translational research. We collaborative with clinical investigators to quickly translate observations made in our human models of intestinal development at the laboratory level, into clinical trials and ultimately to multicenter studies.


M.D., 1963, Washington University School of Medicine
Conrad Taff Professor of Nutrition & Pediatrics, HMS