Mr. John Parkinson
Senior Scientist, Hospital for Sick Children and Professor
University of Toronto
Dr John Parkinson is a computational biologist whose research interests focus on the impact of microbiota on human health. After completing his PhD at the University of Manchester, studying molecular self-assembly, John spent a year at the University of Manitoba investigating diatom morphogenesis. In 1997, John moved to Edinburgh where he applied computer models to study the evolution of complement control proteins with Dr Paul Barlow. With the emergence of high throughput sequencing, John then led the bioinformatics efforts associated with the parasitic nematode expressed sequence tag project, responsible for the processing and curation of sequence data from 30 species of parasitic nematodes. John was recruited to the Hospital for Sick Children in 2003 and was promoted to Senior Scientist in 2009. He holds cross-appointments in both the departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto. Current lab interests center on the role of the microbiome in health and disease as well as the mechanisms that allow pathogens and parasites to survive and persist in their human hosts. Key to this research is the integration of computational systems biology analyses with comparative genomics to explore the evolution and operation of microbial pathways driving pathogenesis. Findings from our research programs are helping guide new strategies for therapeutic intervention.