David Parker

Assistant Professor of Biology
Powell House 207
2625 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244
dparker10@elon.edu (336) 278-5588


Ph.D., Dept. of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2006)

M.Sc., Dept. of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2002)

B.Sc. (Honors), Biochemistry and Applied Molecular Biology, The University of Manchester, UK (1994)

Employment History

Postdoctoral Associate, Center For Human Disease Modeling, Duke University (2009-2012)

Research summary:The ability to sequence the entire DNA blueprint of an individual (whole genome sequencing) has recently become affordable. The impact of this technology poses profound ethical and intellectual challenges on both a personal and societal level. In my postdoc at Duke I gained insight into this new field and researched the role of total mutational load in human genetic disease. I used human disease modeling in zebra fish to study the potential impact of small genetic changes on complex human disease states.

Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Cell Biology, The University of Michigan (2006-2009)

Research summary:Throughout the journey from a single cell to a mature organism, cells communicate using evolutionary ancient signal transduction pathways. Relatively few signaling pathways acting in concert generate the incredibly complex body plans of all multicellular organisms. How this is achieved is not well understood. As a postdoc at Michigan I made transgenic Drosophila lines to study how genes can respond differently to the same signaling pathway at different points of development.

Doctoral Student, Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, The University of Michigan (1999-2006) 

Research summary:Fruit flies are one of the longest studied model organisms in science, and a myriad of elegant genetic techniques exist to investigate them. As a graduate student I identified and genetically characterized a gene called pygopus (pygo). A normal version of the pygo gene is required for the Wnt signaling pathway to function correctly. This cell-communication pathway is highly conserved in humans and is important for correct development and is implicated in many forms of cancer. My dissertation is entitled: “Genetic and Molecular Analysis of Wingless/Wnt Signal Transduction in the Nucleus”.

Research Assistant, Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, The University of Michigan (1997-1999)

Research summary:Charles Darwin called the sudden appearance of flowering plants in the fossil record an “abominable mystery”. As a research assistant in Michigan I cloned and sequenced the leafy gene from multiple plant species. Comparison of leafy genes from different species at the amino acid level suggests that flowers arose by male plants gaining female reproductive structures, termed the mostly male theory of flower evolutionary origins.

Research Assistant, The Medical Research Council, Cambridge, UK (1994-1997)

Research summary:The human complement system forms a part of the innate immune response. In Cambridge I studied complement factor H, a protein that prevents host tissues being subject to attack by the complement system.    


Liu YP, Tsai I, Morleo M, Oh EC, Leitch CC, Massa F, Lee B, Parker DS, Finley D, Zaghloul NA, Franco B and Katsanis N (2014) Ciliopathy proteins regulate paracrine signaling by modulating proteasomal degradation of mediators. J Clin Invest 124:2059-70

White MA, Parker DS, Barolo S, Cohen BA (2012) A model of spatially restricted transcription in opposing gradients of activators and repressors. Mol Syst Biol 8:614

Riazuddin SA, Parker DS, McGlumphy EJ, Oh EC, Iliff BW, Gilbert N, Schmedt T, Jurkunas U, Muller U, Schleif R, Katsanis N, Gottsch JD (2012) Mutations in the recessive deafness locus LOXHD1 cause dominant late-onset Fuchs corneal dystrophy. Am J Hum Genet 90: 533-9

Parker DS, Katsanis N (2011) Understanding Cargo Specificity in Intraflegellar Transport. EMBO 30:2158-9

Parker DS, White MA, Ramos AI, Cohen BA, Barolo S (2011) The cis-regulatory logic of Hedgehog gradient responses: key roles for gli binding affinity, competition, and cooperativity. Science Signaling 4: ra38

Parker DS and Katsanis N (2011) Ciliary Syndromes and Obesity (book chapter). Book chapter. Lustig, RH (Ed.) Obesity Before Birth Maternal and Prenatal Influences on the Offspring. Springer: New York

Parker DS, Ni YY, Chang JL, Li J and Cadigan KM (2008) Wingless Signaling Induces Widespread Chromatin Remodeling of Target Gene Loci. Molecular and Cellular Biology 28: 1815-28

Grieder NC, Caussinus E, Parker DS, Cadigan K, Affolter M, Luschnig S (2008) gammaCOP is required for apical protein secretion and epithelial morphogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster. PlOS One 3: e3241

Li J, Sutter C, Parker DS, Blauwkamp T, Fang M and Cadigan KM (2007) CBP/p300 are bimodal regulators of Wnt signaling. EMBO J 26: 2284-94

Parker DS, Blauwkamp T and Cadigan KM. (2007) Wnt mediated transcriptional regulation.  Advances in Developmental Biology 17: 1-60

Parker DS, Jemison J, Cadigan KM. (2002) Pygopus, a nuclear PHD-finger protein required for Wingless signaling in Drosophila. Development 129: 2565-76

Parker DS and Frohlich MW (2001) Running gels backwards to select DNA molecules larger than a minimum size. Biotechniques  30: 264-266

Parker DS and Frohlich MW (2000) The mostly male theory of flower evolutionary origins: from genes to fossils. Systematic Botany 25: 155-170


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