Christopher Parker, Ph.D.


Christopher Parker

Office: Gyte 284
Phone: 219-989-2738





Ph.D. – Microbiology, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

M.S. – Biology, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX


Research Interests:


Colonization of the human gastrointestinal (GI) tract by Escherichia coli requires the bacteria to pass successfully through the harsh conditions of the upper GI tract before reaching the bacterium’s colonization site within the colon.  These harsh conditions include acidic environments, bile, digestive enzymes, the host’s immune system, and a general lack of nutrients and minerals as the host absorbs them.  To survive these conditions, E. coli has developed mechanisms to sense these stressful conditions and mount an appropriate response.  Aside from simply using these mechanisms to survive harsh conditions, however, E. coli may also use these stressful events to monitor it’s location within the GI tract and therefore prepare itself for colonization once the colon is reached.  My research focuses on how two of these bacterial stress response mechanisms, a periplasmic stress response protein, YgiW, and the leucine-responsive regulatory protein, Lrp, are used to influence the mechanisms that enable commensal colonization.  In the case of pathogenic E. coli, my research also seeks to determine how these stress responses affect the onset of pathogenesis.


Professional Memberships:


American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) – 2006 – Present

American Society for Microbiology (ASM) – 1998 – Present


Selected Publications:


M. Kendall, C. Gruber, C. Parker, and V. Sperandio.  2012.  Ethanolamine controls expression of genes encoding for inter-kingdom signaling and virulence in enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7.  mBio 3(3).


C. Parker and V. Sperandio.  2011.  The possible roles of conserved amino acids in the periplasmic domain of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli sensor kinase QseC.  Cold Spring Harbor Microbial Pathogenesis & Host Response Meeting, Cold Spring Harbor, New York.


C. Parker and V. Sperandio.  2009.  The effect of amino acid substitutions in the periplasmic domain of QseC, an epinephrine sensor of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli.  Poster presentation.  7th International Symposium on Verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli Infections, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


C. Parker and V. Sperandio.  2009.  Cell-to-cell signaling during pathogenesis.  Cellular Microbiology.  11(3):363-369


C. Parker and V. Sperandio.  2008.  Characterization of QseC, an epinephrine sensor of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli.  Poster presentation.  108th American Society for Microbiology General Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts.




BIOL 10100 – Introductory Biology

BIOL 22100 – Introduction to Microbiology