January 5, 2019

Spotlight Researchers

TriCEM Spotlight Researcher: William Parker, PhD

Dr. William Parker on Evolutionary Medicine:
“I found my voice in evolutionary medicine and people like Charlie Nunn and Randolph Nesse gave me an arena in which to speak”
Dr. William Parker greets everyone with a smile. He likes to meet in person, and finds joy in research, education, and pushing the boundaries of science. Dr. Parker’s pathway into academia began with a push from his parents to pursue a college education at the University of Arkansas, where he obtained an undergraduate degree in Biology and Chemistry. There, he was inspired to further his academic studies and went on to complete his PhD in Chemistry at the University of Nebraska. After a few stops at various universities to expand his experiences, he landed at Duke’s School of Medicine, where he runs the Immune Dysfunction and Evolutionary Mismatch Laboratory in the Division of Surgical Sciences.
Dr. Parker utilizes an evolutionary medicine perspective to propose new and innovative treatments for diseases of the body and the mind. His research addresses four main areas: transplantation, gut immunity, protein folding, and microbiome depletion. My time with him was spent discussing the brain-gut connection, furthering my knowledge of helminths used in therapeutic treatment for autoimmune and other diseases, and even consuming a beetle larva which he assured me was quite harmless (so far, so good!). Talking with Dr. Parker was an enjoyable and enlightening experience, and he welcomes additional opportunities to interact with students in the classroom, lab, and at local events.
To learn more about Dr. Parker’s research please visit his web page through the School of Medicine or the Department of Surgery.
Recommended Reads: If being too clean makes us sick, why isn’t getting dirty the solution?
Written By:
Courtni France
TriCEM Outreach and Undergraduate Engagement Intern