Dr Edward Parker
BA MSc PhD
in Systems Biology
I completed a BA in Biological Sciences at Oxford University, an MSc in Laboratory Medicine at the University of Toronto, and a PhD in infectious disease epidemiology at Imperial College London.
My work considers why oral vaccines (such as those targeting polio and rotavirus) have consistently proven to be less effective in low-income countries. To date, I have focused on the possible contribution of the microbiome to this phenomenon, applying a range of lab and bioinformatic tools to sequence gut bacteria and viruses.
However, the microbiome does not exist in a vacuum – it shapes and is in turn shaped by host immunity, gene expression, protein production, and metabolism. In my new role at LSHTM, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of this interconnected system and thereby shed light on the fundamental mechanisms that shape vaccine immunity.
I am a keen but sporadic science writer. I am also interested in data visualisation, and recently developed an interactive mapping tool to help contextualise the COVID-19 outbreak. This was covered by The Conversation and BBC World Service.
Popular science writing:
Coronavirus outbreak: a new mapping tool that lets you scroll through timeline, The Conversation, February 2020
Andy Serkis’s Breathe is a haunting reminder of the pre-vaccine era, The Conversation, October 2017 (reprinted by The Independent)
Salk's swansong: renaissance of the injected polio vaccine, Science-based Medicine, October 2014
Gut reaction: the impact of intestinal infections on polio vacccination, MRC Insight, October 2014
Sister Kenny: a study in inflexibility, The Lancet Infectious Diseases, June 2014