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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


Scheuermann, Uwe, Minghua Zhu, Mingqing Song, John Yerxa, Qimeng Gao, Robert P. Davis, Min Zhang, et al. “Damage-Associated Molecular Patterns Induce Inflammatory Injury During Machine Preservation of the Liver: Potential Targets to Enhance a Promising Technology.” Liver Transpl 25, no. 4 (April 2019): 610–26.

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Yerxa, J., Q. Gao, R. P. Davis, M. Zhang, U. Scheuermann, W. Parker, M. G. Hartwig, and A. Barbas. “Flow Cytometric Analysis of Leukocyte Migration during Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion with C CR4.” In American Journal of Transplantation, 19:626–626. WILEY, 2019.


David, E., M. Zhu, B. Bennett, D. Cheng, A. Nichols, W. Parker, P. Schroder, N. McIver, A. Kirk, and E. Chambers. “Undernutrition and Leptin Deficiency Modulates T Cell Immunity in Transplantation.” In American Journal of Transplantation, 19:383–383. WILEY, 2019.


Chang, Jui-Chih, Sadé M. Finn, Robert Patrick Davis, Nathan L. Sanders, Zoie E. Holzknecht, Mary Lou Everett, Andrew S. Barbas, William Parker, and Shu S. Lin. “Early Immune Response to Acute Gastric Fluid Aspiration in a Rat Model of Lung Transplantation.” Exp Clin Transplant 17, no. 1 (February 2019): 84–92.

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Scheuermann, Uwe, Minghua Zhu, Mingqing Song, John Yerxa, Qimeng Gao, Robert Davis, Min Zhang, et al. “DAMP Release and Inflammasome Activation during Machine Preservation of the Liver.” In American Journal of Transplantation, 19:34–35. WILEY, 2019.


Freischlag, K., B. Ezekian, P. Schroder, J. Everitt, J. Yoon, M. Swiderska-Syn, W. Parker, A. Diehl, J. Kwun, and S. Knechtle. “Long-Term HIF-1 alpha Stabilization is Associated with Fibrosis in Rat Lung Allografts.” In American Journal of Transplantation, 18:490–91. WILEY, 2018.


Finn, Sade M. B., Uwe Scheuermann, Zoie E. Holzknecht, William Parker, Joshua A. Granek, Shu S. Lin, Erin A. McKenney, and Andrew S. Barbas. “Effect of gastric fluid aspiration on the lung microbiota of laboratory rats.” Exp Lung Res 44, no. 4–5 (May 2018): 201–10.

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Villeneuve, Chantal, Henry H. Kou, Henrik Eckermann, Antara Palkar, Lauren G. Anderson, Erin A. McKenney, R Randal Bollinger, and William Parker. “Evolution of the hygiene hypothesis into biota alteration theory: what are the paradigms and where are the clinical applications?” Microbes Infect 20, no. 3 (March 2018): 147–55.

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