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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


Parker, William, Chi Dang Hornik, Staci Bilbo, Zoie E. Holzknecht, Lauren Gentry, Rasika Rao, Shu S. Lin, Martha R. Herbert, and Cynthia D. Nevison. “The role of oxidative stress, inflammation and acetaminophen exposure from birth to early childhood in the induction of autism..” J Int Med Res 45, no. 2 (April 2017): 407–38.

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Foltz, E., D. Liu, B. Li, M. L. Everett, V. Fellner, and W. Parker. “The effect of HTST and holder pasteurization on bacterial agglutination by breast milk.” Current Nutrition and Food Science 13, no. 1 (February 1, 2017): 29–36.

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Beinart, Dylan, Daniel Ren, Cinthia Pi, Susan Poulton, Zoie E. Holzknecht, Chelsea Swanson, and William Parker. “Immunization enhances the natural antibody repertoire..” Excli Journal 16 (January 2017): 1018–30.

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Smith, Heather F., William Parker, Sanet H. Kotze, and Michel Laurin. “Morphological evolution of the mammalian cecum and cecal appendix.” Comptes Rendus Palevol 16, no. 1 (January 1, 2017): 39–57.

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Bono-Lunn, D., C. Villeneuve, N. J. Abdulhay, M. Harker, and W. Parker. “Policy and regulations in light of the human body as a ‘superorganism’ containing multiple, intertwined symbiotic relationships.” Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs 33, no. 2–4 (October 1, 2016): 39–48.

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Kirman, Christopher R., Mina Suh, Sean M. Hays, Hakan Gürleyük, Russ Gerads, Silvio De Flora, William Parker, et al. “Reduction of hexavalent chromium by fasted and fed human gastric fluid. II. Ex vivo gastric reduction modeling..” Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 306 (September 1, 2016): 120–33.

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Parker, William, Jonathan S. Berek, Elizabeth Pritts, David Olive, Andrew M. Kaunitz, Eva Chalas, Daniel Clarke-Pearson, et al. “An Open Letter to the Food and Drug Administration Regarding the Use of Morcellation Procedures in Women Having Surgery for Presumed Uterine Myomas..” J Minim Invasive Gynecol, March 2016.

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Leung, Jason H., Jui-Chih Chang, Sadé M. Bell, Zoie E. Holzknecht, Samantha M. Thomas, Mary Lou Everett, William Parker, R Duane Davis, and Shu S. Lin. “The role of soluble and insoluble gastric fluid components in the pathogenesis of obliterative bronchiolitis in rat lung allografts..” Transpl Int 29, no. 2 (February 2016): 253–61.

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