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John S. (Sandy) Parkinson

Distinguished Professor

Ph.D. California Institute of Technology


Graduate Program Membership:

Office/Building: ASB 322A
Phone: 801-581-7639
Email: parkinson@biology.utah.edu
Parkinson Lab: http://chemotaxis.biology.utah.edu/Parkinson_Lab/

Research Statement


Motile bacteria can sense and track chemical gradients with extraordinary precision. We study the chemotactic behavior of E. coli to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that cells use to detect and process information about their chemical environment: How they detect chemical gradients, adapt to persistent stimuli, transduce ligand-binding information across the cell membrane, and amplify and integrate signals to control their rotary motors. Our experimental approaches use genetic, biochemical, biophysical, and behavioral methods.

Research Interests


General Interests
Specific Interests
  • Motility and chemotactic behavior
  • Chemoreceptors and transmembrane signaling
  • Receptor arrays and signal amplification

Selected Publications


  • Ames, P., S. Hunter, J.S. Parkinson (2016) Evidence for a Helix-Clutch Mechanism of Transmembrane Signaling in a Bacterial Chemoreceptor. J Mol Biol 428, 3776�3788
  • Pi�as, G. E., V. Frank, A. Vaknin, and J.S. Parkinson (2016) The source of high signal cooperativity in bacterial chemosensory arrays. PNAS 113: 3335�3340
  • Mowery, P., P. Ames, R.H. Reiser, J.S. Parkinson (2015) Chemotactic Signaling by Single-Chain Chemoreceptors. PLOS ONE DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0145267
  • Kitanovic, S., P. Ames and J.S. Parkinson (2015) A trigger residue for transmembrane signaling in the Escherichia coli serine chemoreceptor. J. Bacteriol. 197: 2568-2579.
  • Lai, R.Z. and J.S. Parkinson (2014) Functional suppression of HAMP domain signaling defects in the E. coli serine chemoreceptor. J. Mol. Biol. 426: 3642-3655.
  • Pedetta, A., J.S. Parkinson and C.A. Studdert (2014) Signalling-dependent interactions between the kinase-coupling protein CheW and chemoreceptors in living cells. Mol. Microbiol. 93: 1144-1155.
  • Han, X.S. and J.S. Parkinson (2014) An unorthodox sensory adaptation site in the Escherichia coli serine chemoreceptor. J. Bacteriol. 196: 641-649.

Courses Taught


  • Biol 1005: Experimental Biology Lab
  • Biol 2030: Principles of Genetics
  • Biol 5255: Prokaryotic Genetics Lab