Researcher Profile

Researcher Profile

Vonn Walter, PhD

Vonn Walter, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences
Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics
Institute for Personalized Medicine
Scientific Program:Mechanisms of Carcinogenesis

Research Interests

Dr. Vonn Walter's primary research field is cancer genomics, particularly gene expression profiling, DNA copy number analysis and integrated analysis of multiple genomic data types. He is interested in all aspects of RNA sequencing data analysis, including pre-processing, normalization, differential expression analysis, unsupervised clustering, development of gene expression classifiers, pathway analysis, and network analysis. His PhD thesis led to the development of the DiNAMIC algorithm for assessing the statistical significance of recurrent genomic aberrations, such as regions of the genome where DNA copy number gains or losses are observed across multiple subjects. He also created the mVisAGe R package for computing and visualizing bivariate correlations that can be used to perform exploratory analyses for identifying regions of the genome where underling genomic aberrations affect the expression of regional genes.

Dr. Walter enjoys team science, and plays a variety of roles in ongoing collaborations with researchers at Penn State College of Medicine and elsewhere. He is a member of the Biostatistics/Bioinformatics Shared Resource of Penn State Cancer Institute.

  • Neoplasms
  • Mutation
  • DNA
  • Genes
  • Gene Expression
  • Therapeutics
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Genome
  • Thyroid Neoplasms
  • Lung
  • Survival
  • Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinoma

Recent Publications


Buckwalter, JM, Chan, W, Shuman, L, Wildermuth, T, Ellis-Mohl, J, Walter, V, Warrick, J, Wu, XR, Kaag, MG, Raman, J & Degraff, D 2019, 'Characterization of histone deacetylase expression within in vitro and in vivo bladder cancer model systems', International journal of molecular sciences, vol. 20, no. 10, 2599.
McDonald, A, Vira, M, Walter, V, Shen, J, Raman, J, Sanda, MG, Patil, D & Taioli, E 2019, 'Circulating microRNAs in plasma among men with low-grade and high-grade prostate cancer at prostate biopsy', Prostate, vol. 79, no. 9, pp. 961-968.
Zaleski, M, Gogoj, A, Walter, V, Raman, J, Kaag, MG, Merrill, S, Drabick, J, Joshi, M, Holder, S, Degraff, D & Warrick, J 2019, 'Mitotic activity in noninvasive papillary urothelial carcinoma: its value in predicting tumor recurrence and comparison with the contemporary 2-tier grading system' Human Pathology, vol. 84, pp. 275-282.
Pool, C, Walter, V, Bann, D, Goldenberg, D, Broach, J, Hennessy, M, Cottrill, E, Washburn, E, Williams, N, Crist, H, Imamura, Y & Warrick, J 2019, 'Molecular characterization of tumors meeting diagnostic criteria for the non-invasive follicular thyroid neoplasm with papillary-like nuclear features (NIFTP)', Virchows Archiv, vol. 474, no. 3, pp. 341-351.


Labarge, B, Walter, V, Lengerich, E, Crist, H, Karamchandani, D, Williams, N, Goldenberg, D, Bann, DV & Warrick, J 2018, 'Evidence of a positive association between malpractice climate and thyroid cancer incidence in the United States', PloS one, vol. 13, no. 7, e0199862.
Lechner, M, Chakravarthy, AR, Walter, V, Masterson, L, Feber, A, Jay, A, Weinberger, PM, McIndoe, RA, Forde, CT, Chester, K, Kalavrezos, N, O'Flynn, P, Forster, M, Jones, TM, Vaz, FM, Hayes, DN & Fenton, TR 2018, 'Frequent HPV-independent p16/INK4A overexpression in head and neck cancer', Oral Oncology, vol. 83, pp. 32-37.
Worley, BL, Kim, YS, Mardini, J, Zaman, R, Leon, KE, Vallur, PG, Nduwumwami, A, Warrick, J, Timmins, PF, Kesterson, J, Phaeton, R, Lee, NY, Walter, V, Endres, L, Mythreye, K, Aird, K & Hempel, N 2018, 'GPx3 supports ovarian cancer progression by manipulating the extracellular redox environment', Redox Biology.
Zevallos, JP, Mazul, AL, Walter, V & Hayes, DN 2019, 'Gene Expression Subtype Predicts Nodal Metastasis and Survival in Human Papillomavirus–Negative Head and Neck Cancer', Laryngoscope, vol. 129, no. 1, pp. 154-161.
The Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network 2018, 'Genomic, Pathway Network, and Immunologic Features Distinguishing Squamous Carcinomas', Cell Reports, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 194-212.e6.
Gonzalez-Lopez, E, Imamura, Y, Walter, V, Zhang, L, Koltun, W, Huang, X, Vrana, K & Coates, M 2018, 'Homozygosity for the SCN10A polymorphism rs6795970 is associated with hypoalgesic inflammatory bowel disease phenotype', Frontiers in Medicine, vol. 5, no. NOV, 324.
George, J, Walter, V, Peifer, M, Alexandrov, LB, Seidel, D, Leenders, F, Maas, L, Müller, C, Dahmen, I, Delhomme, TM, Ardin, M, Leblay, N, Byrnes, G, Sun, R, De Reynies, A, McLeer-Florin, A, Bosco, G, Malchers, F, Menon, R, Altmüller, J, Becker, C, Nürnberg, P, Achter, V, Lang, U, Schneider, PM, Bogus, M, Soloway, MG, Wilkerson, MD, Cun, Y, McKay, JD, Moro-Sibilot, D, Brambilla, CG, Lantuejoul, S, Lemaitre, N, Soltermann, A, Weder, W, Tischler, V, Brustugun, OT, Lund-Iversen, M, Helland, Å, Solberg, S, Ansén, S, Wright, G, Solomon, B, Roz, L, Pastorino, U, Petersen, I, Clement, JH, Sänger, J, Wolf, J, Vingron, M, Zander, T, Perner, S, Travis, WD, Haas, SA, Olivier, M, Foll, M, Büttner, R, Hayes, DN, Brambilla, E, Fernandez-Cuesta, L & Thomas, RK 2018, 'Integrative genomic profiling of large-cell neuroendocrine carcinomas reveals distinct subtypes of high-grade neuroendocrine lung tumors', Nature communications, vol. 9, no. 1, 1048.
Warrick, J, Sjödahl, G, Kaag, MG, Raman, J, Merrill, S, Shuman, L, Chen, G, Walter, V & Degraff, D 2019, 'Intratumoral Heterogeneity of Bladder Cancer by Molecular Subtypes and Histologic Variants [Figure presented]', European Urology, vol. 75, no. 1, pp. 18-22.
Walter, V, Du, Y, Danilova, L, Hayward, MC & Hayes, DN 2018, 'MVisAGe identifies concordant and discordant genomic alterations of driver genes in squamous tumors', Cancer Research, vol. 78, no. 12, pp. 3375-3385.
The Cancer Genome Atlas Network 2018, 'The Integrated Genomic Landscape of Thymic Epithelial Tumors', Cancer Cell, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 244-258.e10.


Goldenberg, D, Russo, M, Houser, K, Crist, H, Derr, JB, Walter, V, Warrick, J, Sheldon, KE, Broach, J & Bann, DV 2017, 'Altered molecular profile in thyroid cancers from patients affected by the Three Mile Island nuclear accident', Laryngoscope, vol. 127, pp. S1-S9.
Fu, J, Sen, R, Masica, DL, Karchin, R, Pardoll, D, Walter, V, Hayes, DN, Chung, CH & Kim, YJ 2017, 'Autologous reconstitution of human cancer and immune system in vivo', Oncotarget, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 2053-2068.
Fishbein, L, Leshchiner, I, Walter, V, Danilova, L, Robertson, AG, Johnson, AR, Lichtenberg, TM, Murray, BA, Ghayee, HK, Else, T, Ling, S, Jefferys, SR, de Cubas, AA, Wenz, B, Korpershoek, E, Amelio, AL, Makowski, L, Rathmell, WK, Gimenez-Roqueplo, AP, Giordano, TJ, Asa, SL, Tischler, AS, Akbani, R, Ally, A, Amar, L, Arachchi, H, Auchus, RJ, Auman, JT, Baertsch, R, Balasundaram, M, Balu, S, Bartsch, DK, Baudin, E, Bauer, T, Beaver, A, Benz, C, Beroukhim, R, Beuschlein, F, Bodenheimer, T, Boice, L, Bowen, J, Bowlby, R, Brooks, D, Carlsen, R, Carter, S, Cassol, CA, Cherniack, AD, Chin, L, Cho, J, Chuah, E, Chudamani, S, Cope, L, Crain, D, Curley, E, de Krijger, RR, Demchok, JA, Deutschbein, T, Dhalla, N, Dimmock, D, Dinjens, WNM, Eng, C, Eschbacher, J, Fassnacht, M, Felau, I, Feldman, M, Ferguson, ML, Fiddes, I, Frazer, S, Gabriel, SB, Gardner, J, Gastier-Foster, JM, Gehlenborg, N, Gerken, M, Getz, G, Geurts, J, Goldman, M, Graim, K, Gupta, M, Haan, D, Hahner, S, Hantel, C, Haussler, D, Hayes, DN, Heiman, DI, Hoadley, KA, Holt, RA, Hoyle, AP, Huang, M, Hunt, B, Hutter, CM, Jones, SJM, Jones, CD, Kasaian, K, Kebebew, E, Kim, J, Kimes, P, Knijnenburg, T, Lander, E, Lawrence, MS, Lechan, R, Lee, D, Leraas, KM, Lerario, A, Lin, P, Liu, J, LiVolsi, VA, Lolla, L, Lotan, Y, Lu, Y, Ma, Y, Maison, N, Mallery, D, Mannelli, M, Marquard, J, Marra, MA, Matthew, T, Mayo, M, Méatchi, T, Meng, S, Merino, MJ, Mete, O, Meyerson, M, Mieczkowski, PA, Mills, GB, Moore, RA, Morozova, O, Morris, S, Mose, LE, Mungall, AJ, Naresh, R, Nathanson, KL, Newton, Y, Ng, S, Ni, Y, Noble, MS, Nwariaku, F, Pacak, K, Parker, JS, Paul, E, Penny, R, Perou, CM, Perou, AH, Pihl, T, Powers, J, Rabaglia, J, Radenbaugh, A, Ramirez, NC, Rao, A, Riester, A, Roach, J, Sadeghi, S, Saksena, G, Salama, S, Saller, C, Sandusky, G, Sbiera, S, Schein, JE, Schumacher, SE, Shelton, C, Shelton, T, Sheth, M, Shi, Y, Shih, J, Shmulevich, I, Simons, JV, Sipahimalani, P, Skelly, T, Sofia, HJ, Sokolov, A, Soloway, MG, Sougnez, C, Stuart, J, Sun, C, Swatloski, T, Tam, A, Tan, D, Tarnuzzer, R, Tarvin, K, Thiessen, N, Thorne, LB, Timmers, HJ, Tse, K, Uzunangelov, V, van Berkel, A, Veluvolu, U, Vicha, A, Voet, D, Waldmann, J, Wan, Y, Wang, Z, Wang, TS, Weaver, J, Weinstein, JN, Weismann, D, Wilkerson, MD, Wise, L, Wong, T, Wong, C, Wu, Y, Yang, L, Zelinka, T, Zenklusen, JC, Zhang, JJ, Zhang, W, Zhu, J, Zinzindohoué, F & Zmuda, E 2017, 'Comprehensive Molecular Characterization of Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma', Cancer Cell, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 181-193.
Gezgin, G, Dogrusöz, M, van Essen, TH, Kroes, WGM, Luyten, GPM, van der Velden, PA, Walter, V, Verdijk, RM, van Hall, T, van der Burg, SH & Jager, MJ 2017, 'Genetic evolution of uveal melanoma guides the development of an inflammatory microenvironment', Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy, vol. 66, no. 7, pp. 903-912.
Cherniack, AD, Shen, H, Walter, V, Stewart, C, Murray, BA, Bowlby, R, Hu, X, Ling, S, Soslow, RA, Broaddus, RR, Zuna, RE, Robertson, G, Laird, PW, Kucherlapati, R, Mills, GB, Akbani, R, Ally, A, Auman, JT, Balasundaram, M, Balu, S, Baylin, SB, Beroukhim, R, Bodenheimer, T, Bogomolniy, F, Boice, L, Bootwalla, MS, Bowen, J, Broaddus, R, Brooks, D, Carlsen, R, Cho, J, Chuah, E, Chudamani, S, Cibulskis, K, Cline, M, Dao, F, David, M, Demchok, JA, Dhalla, N, Dowdy, S, Felau, I, Ferguson, ML, Frazer, S, Frick, J, Gabriel, S, Gastier-Foster, JM, Gehlenborg, N, Gerken, M, Getz, G, Gupta, M, Haussler, D, Hayes, DN, Heiman, DI, Hess, J, Hoadley, KA, Hoffmann, R, Holt, RA, Hoyle, AP, Huang, M, Hutter, CM, Jefferys, SR, Jones, SJM, Jones, CD, Kanchi, RS, Kandoth, C, Kasaian, K, Kerr, S, Kim, J, Lai, PH, Lander, E, Lawrence, MS, Lee, D, Leraas, KM, Leshchiner, I, Levine, DA, Lichtenberg, TM, Lin, P, Liu, J, Liu, W, Liu, Y, Lolla, L, Lu, Y, Ma, Y, Maglinte, DT, Marra, MA, Mayo, M, Meng, S, Meyerson, M, Mieczkowski, PA, Moore, RA, Mose, LE, Mungall, AJ, Mungall, K, Naresh, R, Noble, MS, Olvera, N, Parker, JS, Perou, CM, Perou, AH, Pihl, T, Radenbaugh, AJ, Ramirez, NC, Rathmell, WK, Roach, J, Robertson, AG, Sadeghi, S, Saksena, G, Salvesen, HB, Schein, JE, Schumacher, SE, Sheth, M, Shi, Y, Shih, J, Simons, JV, Sipahimalani, P, Skelly, T, Sofia, HJ, Soloway, MG, Sougnez, C, Sun, C, Tam, A, Tan, D, Tarnuzzer, R, Thiessen, N, Thorne, LB, Tse, K, Tseng, J, Van Den Berg, DJ, Veluvolu, U, Verhaak, RGW, Voet, D, von Bismarck, A, Wan, Y, Wang, Z, Wang, C, Weinstein, JN, Weisenberger, DJ, Wilkerson, MD, Winterhoff, B, Wise, L, Wong, T, Wu, Y, Yang, L, Zenklusen, JC, Zhang, JJ, Zhang, H, Zhang, W, Zhu, JC, Zmuda, E & Zhang, J 2017, 'Integrated Molecular Characterization of Uterine Carcinosarcoma', Cancer Cell, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 411-423.
Robertson, AG, Shih, J, Yau, C, Gibb, EA, Oba, J, Mungall, KL, Hess, JM, Uzunangelov, V, Walter, V, Danilova, L, Lichtenberg, TM, Kucherlapati, M, Kimes, PK, Tang, M, Penson, A, Babur, O, Akbani, R, Bristow, CA, Hoadley, KA, Iype, L, Chang, MT, Abdel-Rahman, MH, Ally, A, Auman, JT, Balasundaram, M, Balu, S, Benz, C, Beroukhim, R, Birol, I, Bodenheimer, T, Bowen, J, Bowlby, R, Brooks, D, Carlsen, R, Cebulla, CM, Cherniack, AD, Chin, L, Cho, J, Chuah, E, Chudamani, S, Cibulskis, C, Cibulskis, K, Cope, L, Coupland, SE, Defreitas, T, Demchok, JA, Desjardins, L, Dhalla, N, Esmaeli, B, Felau, I, Ferguson, ML, Frazer, S, Gabriel, SB, Gastier-Foster, JM, Gehlenborg, N, Gerken, M, Gershenwald, JE, Getz, G, Griewank, KG, Grimm, EA, Hayes, DN, Hegde, AM, Heiman, DI, Helsel, C, Hobensack, S, Holt, RA, Hoyle, AP, Hu, X, Hutter, CM, Jager, MJ, Jefferys, SR, Jones, CD, Jones, SJM, Kandoth, C, Kasaian, K, Kim, J, Kucherlapati, R, Lander, E, Lawrence, MS, Lazar, AJ, Lee, S, Leraas, KM, Lin, P, Liu, J, Liu, W, Lolla, L, Lu, Y, Ma, Y, Mahadeshwar, HS, Mariani, O, Marra, MA, Mayo, M, Meier, S, Meng, S, Meyerson, M, Mieczkowski, PA, Mills, GB, Moore, RA, Mose, LE, Mungall, AJ, Murray, BA, Naresh, R, Noble, MS, Pantazi, A, Parfenov, M, Park, PJ, Parker, JS, Perou, CM, Pihl, T, Pilarski, R, Protopopov, A, Radenbaugh, A, Rai, K, Ramirez, NC, Ren, X, Reynolds, SM, Roach, J, Roman-Roman, S, Roszik, J, Sadeghi, S, Saksena, G, Sastre, X, Schadendorf, D, Schein, JE, Schoenfield, L, Schumacher, SE, Seidman, J, Seth, S, Sethi, G, Sheth, M, Shi, Y, Shields, C, Shmulevich, I, Simons, JV, Singh, AD, Sipahimalani, P, Skelly, T, Sofia, H, Soloway, MG, Song, X, Stern, MH, Stuart, J, Sun, Q, Sun, H, Tam, A, Tan, D, Tang, J, Tarnuzzer, R, Taylor, BS, Thiessen, N, Thorsson, V, Tse, K, Veluvolu, U, Verhaak, RGW, Voet, D, Wan, Y, Wang, Z, Weinstein, JN, Wilkerson, MD, Williams, MD, Wise, L, Woodman, SE, Wong, T, Wu, Y, Yang, L, Yang, L, Zenklusen, JC, Zhang, J, Zhang, H & Zmuda, E 2017, 'Integrative Analysis Identifies Four Molecular and Clinical Subsets in Uveal Melanoma', Cancer Cell, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 204-220.e15.
Bailey, ST, Smith, AM, Kardos, J, Wobker, SE, Wilson, HL, Krishnan, B, Saito, R, Lee, HJ, Zhang, J, Eaton, SC, Williams, LA, Manocha, U, Peters, DJ, Pan, X, Carroll, TJ, Felsher, DW, Walter, V, Zhang, Q, Parker, JS, Yeh, JJ, Moffitt, RA, Leung, JY & Kim, WY 2017, 'MYC activation cooperates with Vhl and Ink4a/Arf loss to induce clear cell renal cell carcinoma', Nature Communications, vol. 8, 15770.
Doerr, F, George, J, Schmitt, A, Beleggia, F, Rehkämper, T, Hermann, S, Walter, V, Weber, JP, Thomas, RK, Wittersheim, M, Büttner, R, Persigehl, T & Christian Reinhardt, H 2017, 'Targeting a non-oncogene addiction to the ATR/CHK1 axis for the treatment of small cell lung cancer', Scientific reports, vol. 7, no. 1, 15511.


Warrick, J, Walter, V, Yamashita, H, Chung, E, Shuman, L, Amponsa, VO, Zheng, Z, Chan, W, Whitcomb, T, Yue, F, Iyyanki, T, Imamura, Y, Kaag, MG, Guo, W, Raman, J, Park, JS & Degraff, D 2016, 'FOXA1, GATA3 and PPARIγ Cooperate to drive luminal subtype in bladder cancer: A molecular analysis of established human cell lines', Scientific reports, vol. 6, 38531.


Zhao, X, Wang, A, Walter, V, Patel, NM, Eberhard, DA, Hayward, MC, Salazar, AH, Jo, H, Soloway, MG, Wilkerson, MD, Parker, JS, Yin, X, Zhang, G, Siegel, MB, Rosson, GB, Earp, HS, Sharpless, NE, Gulley, ML, Weck, KE, Hayes, DN & Moschos, SJ 2015, 'Combined targeted DNA sequencing in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) using UNCseq and NGScopy, and RNA sequencing using UNCqeR for the detection of genetic aberrations in NSCLC', PLoS One, vol. 10, no. 6, e0129280.
The Cancer Genome Atlas Network 2015, 'Comprehensive genomic characterization of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas', Nature, vol. 517, no. 7536, pp. 576-582.
Walter, V, Wright, FA & Nobel, AB 2015, 'Consistent testing for recurrent genomic aberrations' Biometrika, vol. 102, no. 4, pp. 783-796.
The Cancer Genome Atlas Network 2015, 'Genomic Classification of Cutaneous Melanoma', Cell, vol. 161, no. 7, pp. 1681-1696.

Clinical Trials Search

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