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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


Chang, J. -. C., J. H. Leung, T. Tang, M. G. Hartwig, Z. E. Holzknecht, W. Parker, R. D. Davis, and S. S. Lin. “In the face of chronic aspiration, prolonged ischemic time exacerbates obliterative bronchiolitis in rat pulmonary allografts..” Am J Transplant 12, no. 11 (November 2012): 2930–37.

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Su, Kuei-Ying, Anitra D. Thomas, Jui-Chih Chang, Jason H. Leung, Sean M. Lee, Zoie E. Holzknecht, Mary Lou Everett, et al. “Chronic aspiration shifts the immune response from adaptive immunity to innate immunity in a murine model of asthma..” Inflamm Res 61, no. 8 (August 2012): 863–73.

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Parker, William, Sarah E. Perkins, Matthew Harker, and Michael P. Muehlenbein. “A prescription for clinical immunology: the pills are available and ready for testing. A review..” Curr Med Res Opin 28, no. 7 (July 2012): 1193–1202.

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Chang, J. -. C., J. H. Leung, Z. E. Holzknecht, W. Parker, R. D. Davis, and S. S. Lin. “The Effects of Gastric Fluid Aspiration as a Function of Age in a Rat Model: Implications for Pulmonary Allotransplantation.” In American Journal of Transplantation, 12:467–467. WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2012.


Chang, J. -. C., T. Tang, J. Leung, M. G. Hartwig, W. Parker, R. D. Davis, and S. S. Lin. “18 Prolonged Ischemic Time Exacerbates the Development of Chronic Gastric Fluid Aspiration-Associated Bronchiolitis Obliterans in Rat Pulmonary Allografts.” In The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, 31:S15–16. Elsevier BV, 2012.

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Trama, Ashley M., Zoie E. Holzknecht, Anitra D. Thomas, Kuei-Ying Su, Sean M. Lee, Emily E. Foltz, Sarah E. Perkins, Shu S. Lin, and William Parker. “Lymphocyte phenotypes in wild-caught rats suggest potential mechanisms underlying increased immune sensitivity in post-industrial environments..” Cell Mol Immunol 9, no. 2 (March 2012): 163–74.

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Zhang, A. Q., S. Y. R. Lee, M. Truneh, M. L. Everett, and W. Parker. “Human whey promotes sessile bacterial growth, whereas alternative sources of infant nutrition promote planktonic growth.” Current Nutrition and Food Science 8, no. 3 (2012): 168–76.

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Bilbo, Staci D., John P. Jones, and William Parker. “Is autism a member of a family of diseases resulting from genetic/cultural mismatches? Implications for treatment and prevention..” Autism Research and Treatment 2012 (January 2012).

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Lee, SY Ryan, and William Parker. “Amphiphilic α-helical potential: a putative folding motif adding few constraints to protein evolution..” J Mol Evol 73, no. 3–4 (October 2011): 166–80.

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Bilbo, Staci D., Gregory A. Wray, Sarah E. Perkins, and William Parker. “Reconstitution of the human biome as the most reasonable solution for epidemics of allergic and autoimmune diseases..” Med Hypotheses 77, no. 4 (October 2011): 494–504.

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