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William Parker, PhD

Associate Professor of Surgery
Office: 487 Med Sci Res Bldg, Durham, NC 27710
Campus Mail: DUMC Box 2605 Med Ctr, Durham, NC 27710

1. Transplantation: We have been studying transplantation and organ rejection now for about 25 years. Work through the years has included extensive study of xenotransplantation and aspiration-induced pulmonary rejection, with Jeffrey Platt, Randy Bollinger, Duane Davis, and Shu Lin. New studies with organ preservation and Dr. Andrew Barbas are now underway.

2. Gut immunity: Research has focused on the promicrobial aspects of the immune system. In collaboration with Dr. Randy Bollinger, we have focused on the model of "immune inclusion" in the gut. Earlier work led to a determination of the apparent function of the human vermiform appendix. Ongoing studies are aimed at probing the evolution of the microbiota in the gut in response to changing environments, a process that may be important in a wide range of inflammatory diseases.

3. Protein folding: Research has focused on the potential role of amphiphilic α-helical potential in the folding of all proteins, including predominantly β-sheet proteins. We are currently conducting experiments aimed at evaluating the working hypothesis that α-helical "dormant domains" are involved in the folding of β-sheet proteins.

4. The biota alteration theory, or biome depletion theory: What is widely known as the “hygiene hypothesis” is more appropriately described as the biota alteration or biome depletion theory: Changes in symbiont composition in the ecosystem of the human body in Western culture has led to immune dysfunction and subsequent disease. We are working on several aspects of this theory. Our earlier studies probe the immunological differences between laboratory-raised and wild-raised animals as a means of assessing differences between humans with and without Western culture, respectively. Other studies probe the role of biome enrichment, in particular the addition of helminths, in the treatment of disease. Studies are ongoing in both humans and in animals, with particular attention to the role of biome depletion in cognitive dysfunction.

Education and Training

  • Ph.D., University of Nebraska, Omaha, 1992


Nevison, Cynthia, and William Parker. “California Autism Prevalence by County and Race/Ethnicity: Declining Trends Among Wealthy Whites.” J Autism Dev Disord 50, no. 11 (November 2020): 4011–21.

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Atia, Andrew, Dimitrios Moris, MacKenzie McRae, Mingqing Song, Linda Stempora, Francis Leopardi, Kyha Williams, et al. “Th17 cell inhibition in a costimulation blockade-based regimen for vascularized composite allotransplantation using a nonhuman primate model.” Transpl Int 33, no. 10 (October 2020): 1294–1301.

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Scheuermann, Uwe, Elisabeth R. Seyferth, Nader Abraham, Samuel J. Kesseli, Samantha E. Halpern, Minghua Zhu, Mingqing Song, et al. “Sirtuin-1 expression and activity is diminished in aged liver grafts.” Sci Rep 10, no. 1 (July 17, 2020): 11860.

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Davis, Robert P., John Yerxa, Qimeng Gao, Jared Gloria, Uwe Scheuermann, Mingqing Song, Min Zhang, et al. “Donor Leukocyte Trafficking and Damage-associated Molecular Pattern Expression During Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion.” Transplant Direct 6, no. 3 (March 2020): e532.

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Finn, Sade M. B., Uwe Scheuermann, Zoie E. Holzknecht, Qimeng Gao, Mohamed M. Ibrahim, William Parker, Joshua A. Granek, Shu S. Lin, Erin A. McKenney, and Andrew S. Barbas. “The effect of levofloxacin on the lung microbiota of laboratory rats.” Exp Lung Res 45, no. 7 (September 2019): 200–208.

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Řežábková, Lucie, Jan Brabec, Milan Jirků, Marc Dellerba, Roman Kuchta, David Modrý, William Parker, and Kateřina Jirků Pomajbíková. “Genetic diversity of the potentially therapeutic tapeworm Hymenolepis diminuta (Cestoda: Cyclophyllidea).” Parasitol Int 71 (August 2019): 121–25.

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Sobotková, Kateřina, William Parker, Jana Levá, Jiřina Růžková, Julius Lukeš, and Kateřina Jirků Pomajbíková. “Helminth Therapy - From the Parasite Perspective.” Trends Parasitol 35, no. 7 (July 2019): 501–15.

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Scheuermann, Uwe, Mohamed M. Ibrahim, John Yerxa, William Parker, Matthew G. Hartwig, Bruce Klitzman, and Andrew S. Barbas. “Machine Perfusion of Liver Grafts With Implantable Oxygen Biosensors: Proof of Concept Study in a Rodent Model.” Transplant Direct 5, no. 7 (July 2019): e463.

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Ren, Linda, Robert A. Holzknecht, Zoie E. Holzknecht, Sanet H. Kotzé, Dawn E. Bowles, Shu S. Lin, Erin A. McKenney, and William Parker. “A mole rat's gut microbiota suggests selective influence of diet on microbial niche space and evolution.” Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 244, no. 6 (April 2019): 471–83.

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Scheuermann, U., E. R. Seyferth, M. Zhu, M. Song, J. Yerxa, R. P. Davis, W. Parker, et al. “Damage-Associated Molecular Pattern Release and Toll-Like Receptor Activation during Cold Storage and Ex Vivo Reperfusion of Old Rat livers.” In American Journal of Transplantation, 19:742–43. WILEY, 2019.