National Center for Natural Products Research Director Named Second Recipient of Distinguished Researcher Award


Larry Walker. UM photo by Robert Jordan.

Miss. – Larry Walker has a list of scientific achievements that spans
more than 30 years, three continents and dozens of organizations, but
his latest accolade is undoubtedly one of his most meaningful.

director of the National Center for Natural Products Research at the
University of Mississippi, is the second recipient of the UM
Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award. The award will
be presented Saturday (May 9) during the university’s commencement

“This award was created to recognize and pay tribute
to a faculty member whose career and achievements have generated
national and international accolades, someone who has been a leader in
his chosen field, and someone who has made outstanding, lifelong
contributions to his profession and to our beloved institution,” said
Alice M. Clark, vice chancellor of research and sponsored programs. “We
are so grateful for Dr. Walker’s leadership on this campus and his
impact globally.”

“The nomination and selection for this award
is very gratifying,” Walker said, who also recently received a Gates
Foundation grant for the ongoing malaria research project he directs.
“It signifies the perception by colleagues that my time at Ole Miss has
made some difference to the university community and hopefully beyond.”

Watch video of Larry Walker

Following periods of postdoctoral research at the Bosch Institute for Clinical Pharmacology at Stuttgart, Germany, and in the Department of Physiology at Dartmouth Medical School, Walker began his stellar career at Ole Miss in 1981 as a research assistant professor in pharmacology.

Though his early work focused primarily on renal and cardiovascular actions of drugs, Walker quickly developed an interest in the screening, discovery and pharmacological characterization of natural products. Before being named NCNPR’s director in 2002, he served as its associate director and interim director. As director, Walker manages a program with more than $40 million in research funding over the past eight years.

“Dr. Walker is sincerely committed to his discipline and the development of superbly trained scientists who will advance the world of natural products research in the decades ahead,” said Barbara Wells, dean of the pharmacy school. “Over the past seven-and-a-half years of working closely with him, I have developed highest admiration for his work, his professional ethic and his exemplary leadership abilities.”

Walker also credits his successes to the continuing support he has received from the university, his wife and family, and close friends at work and outside.

“Good relationships make possible good experiments, in the lab and in life. And so many university staff members have worked faithfully in their jobs to allow me to do mine,” he said. “And finally, I want to thank God, who originated all thought and its benefits.”

The School of Pharmacy named Walker as its Researcher of the Year in 2003. He has actively participated in the school’s graduate training program, having served on the advisory committees of more than 45 graduate students in four different academic departments since 1985.

An accomplished author and editor, Walker has published more than 110 original research articles. He also served eight years as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Biomolecular Screening and is its associate editor. He also has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, the Journal of Phytotherapy Research, and Research Communications in Pharmacology and Toxicology.

Walker has served on numerous review panels for the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Defense and World Health Organization. He has been an adviser to government and the private sector in India, China, Malaysia, Thailand and Brazil. Walker has worked in several roles with the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, including serving on the Advisory Council.

His professional memberships include the American Society of Pharmacognosy, American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, American Society for Microbiology, American Chemical Society, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and the Society for Biomolecular Screening.

The National Center for Natural Products Research has 85 full-time researchers in the natural products field, with programs in drug discovery and in the chemistry and pharmacology of medicinal plants. For more information about NCNPR, visit or call 662-915-7265.