Zenta Walther, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Pathology; Medical Director, YNHH Tumor Profiling Laboratory

Research Interests

Digestive System Neoplasms; Epithelial Cells; Gastrointestinal Diseases; Molecular Biology; Paneth Cells; Enterocytes; Gastrointestinal Tract

Research Organizations

Molecular Diagnostics


Research Summary

The plasma membrane of epithelial cells is divided into apical and basolateral domains that are structurally and functionally distinct. This polarity is crucial for the physiologic functions of epithelia. In development and during wound healing, epithelial cells can switch to a non-polarized, migratory phenotype. Disruptions in the control of cell polarity have been found to promote carcinogenesis. We study membrane polarity and proliferation in gastrointestinal epithelia. Specifically, we investigate the roles of scaffolding proteins called MAGUKs (membrane associated guanylate kinases) in 1) the assembly and basolateral targeting of signaling complexes in polarized cells, 2) tumor suppression, and 3) epithelial barrier maintenance in the intestine. Current projects include (a) analysis of MAGUK interactions with kinesin-family molecular motors, (b) characterization of CASK (a MAGUK) knockout mice with respect to intestinal repair and tumorigenesis, and (c) investigation of DLG5 (another MAGUK) function in the intestine and its role in inflammatory bowel disease.

Selected Publications

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Contact Info

Zenta Walther, MD, PhD
Patient Care Location
Surgical PathologyYale-New Haven Hospital
20 York Street, Ste EP 2-631

New Haven, CT 06510
Office Location
Department of PathologyClinic Building
789 Howard Avenue, Ste CB 565A

New Haven, CT 06519
Mailing Address
310 Cedar Street
PO Box 208023

New Haven, CT 06520-8023