William C. Parks, PhD
Professor; Director, Center for Lung Biology
Work in our lab focuses on how specific members of a large family of extracellular proteases–the matrix metalloproteinases–function in defense and repair. In our studies, we are primarily interested in immune functions conferred by the epithelium of different organs (but with a hefty emphasis on lung), functions which encompasses defense against microorganisms, wound repair, and recruitment of inflammatory cells. We have determined that specific MMPs serve distinct, non-overlapping functions in several distinct processes of innate immunity. Our goal is to understand mechanism, that is, to identify the physiologic protein substrates of individual MMPs whose cleavage regulates specific processes, such as cell migration, differentiation post repair, macrophage activation, and more.