Laura Wegener Parfrey

Associate Professor
CRC Tier 2

Academic History

  • BS (2004) State University of New York at Albany
  • PhD (2011) University of Massachusetts – Amherst
  • Postdoc (2011-2013) University of Colorado – Boulder

My Links

Contact Information

  • 604-827-2214
  • Ponderosa Annex- Room 216

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.

Team Members

We have a fantastic group of student researchers, along with staff scientists, working on microbial ecology and evolution in the mammalian gut, on seaweed and seagrass surfaces, and in experimental systems.  

See the lab web page for more information. 

Selected Publications

Davis KM, Mazel FM, and Parfrey LW. 2021. The microbiota of intertidal macroalgae Fucus distichus is site-specific and resistant to change following transplant. Environmental Microbiology 12:641483

Billy V*, Lhotská Z*, Milan Jirků M, Hložková O, Frgelecová L, Parfrey LW, Jirků Pomajbíková K. 2021. Blastocystis colonization alters the gut microbiome and, in some cases, promotes faster recovery from induced colitis.  Frontiers in Microbiology. 12, 641483

Lemay MA, Chen MY, Mazel F, Hind KR, Starko S, Keeling PJ, Martone PT, Parfrey LW.  2020. A role for morphology in structuring host-associated microbiota. ISME Journal. 1-15

Louca S, Rubin IN, Madilao LL, Bohlmann J, Doebeli M, Parfrey LW. Effects of forced taxonomic transitions on metabolic composition and function in microbial microcosms. 2020. Environmental Microbiology Reports. doi:10.1111/1758-2229.12866

Mann AE, Mazel F, Lemay MA, Morien E, Billy V, Kowalewski M, Di Fiore A, Link A, Goldberg TL, Tecot S, Baden AL, Gomez A, Sauther ML, Cuozzo FP, Rice GAO, Dominy NJ, Stumpf R, Lewis RJ, Swedell L, Amato KR, Parfrey LW. 2020. Biodiversity of protists and nematodes in the wild non-human primate gut. ISME Journal. 14: 609–622