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William Picking

Director, Higuchi Biosciences Center
Primary office:
Higuchi Biosciences Center


William D. Picking has worked with intracellular bacterial pathogens for more than 25 years with his current focus is on the molecular basis for how pathogen invasion of human cells occurs via type III secretion systems (T3SS). The primary model investigated by the Picking groups is Shigella flexneri which uses its T3SS to subvert normal colonic epithelial cell behavior to promote its entry into human intestinal cells. Understanding these microbial injection devices is laying the foundation for devising new ways to treat and prevent bacterial infections.

Dr. Picking received his BS in Microbiology from Kansas State University and his PhD in Microbiology from the University of Kansas. After serving as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Texas he started his faculty career in the Biology Department at Saint Louis University before joining the faculty in Molecular Biosciences at KU-Lawrence in 1999.

After five years as the head of the Microbiology Department at Oklahoma State University (2009-2014), Dr. Picking returned to KU in June of 2014 as Foundation Distinguished Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry to direct the Kansas Vaccine Institute.  In August of 2014 he was named director of the Higuchi Biosciences Center.


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