Laura Wegener Parfrey

Faculty Profile

Faculty Profile

Photo by: Elaine Simons Lane
Assistant Prof., CRC Tier 2

Microbiome of coastal marine organisms; eukaryotes in the microbiome

BS (2004) State University of New York at Albany

PhD (2011) University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Postdoc (2011-2013) University of Colorado – Boulder

Contact Information

Biodiversity Office Room 109, Biodiversity Lab Room 170 (Mailing Address: 3156 Biological Sciences Building, 6270 University Blvd. Vancouver, BC. V6T 1Z4)

Research Interests

Research in the Parfrey lab focuses on the microbial ecology of eukaryotic microbes (protists) and bacteria. We work primarily in two distinct ecosystems: the mammalian gut and coastal ecosystems. Our gut microbiome research combines descriptive research with manipulative experiments to ask what is the ‘normal’ community of eukaryotic microbes (aka “parasites”) residing in humans and other mammals, and what are the consequences of losing our microbial diversity?  Along coastal British Columbia we are investigating how water column and biofilm microbes colonize marine hosts (invertebrates, seaweed, and sea grass), and how these host-associated microbes impact host and ecosystem health.

Courses Taught/Teaching

2014 - 2017: BIOL 121 (Genetics, Ecology, and Evolution)
BIOL 402 (Aquatic Ecology) Note that this class is generally taught by Mary O'Connor. 
548J: Graduate module on Ecosystem Ecology
Coming in fall of 2019: an upper level course in microbial ecology

Team Members

We have a fantastic group of undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral researchers, along with staff scientists working on microbial ecology and evolution in the mammalian gut, on seaweed and seagrass surfaces, on frogs, and more.  
See the lab web page for more information. 

Selected Publications

Jirků Pomajbíková K, Jirků M, Levá J, Sobotková K, Morien E, Parfrey LW. 2018. The benign helminth Hymenolepis diminuta ameliorates chemically induced colitis in a rat model system. Parasitology. 
Lemay MA, Martone PT, Keeling PJ, Burt J, Krumhansl K, Smith R, Parfrey LW. 2018. Sympatric kelp species share a large portion of their surface bacterial communities. Environmental Microbiology. 20:658-670
Chen MY and Parfrey LW. 2018. Incubation with macroalgae induces large shifts in water column microbiota, but minor changes to the epibiota of co-occurring macroalgae. Molecular Ecology. 27(8):1966-1979
Louca S, Polz MF, Mazel F, Albright MBN, Huber JA, O'Connor MI, Ackermann M, Hahn AS, Crowe SA, Srivastava D, Doebeli M, Parfrey LW. 2018. Function and functional redundancy in microbial systems. Nature Ecology and Evolution
Louca S, Parfrey LW, Doebeli M. 2016. Decoupling function and taxonomy in the global ocean microbiome. Science. 353(6305): 1272-1277.
Lukes J, Stensvold CR, Jirků-Pomajbíková K, Parfrey LW. 2015. Are human intestinal eukaryotes beneficial, or commensals? PLoS Pathogens. 11(8): e1005039.