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Molecular Helminthology Laboratory

Charles Shoemaker

Charles ShoemakerProfessor Shoemaker currently leads research focused on the development of therapies for the prevention and treatment of microbial toxins and helminth parasite infections. Research applies molecular biology tools to gain understanding of host-pathogen interactions and to use the information for development of new therapeutic strategies.

Dr. Shoemaker’s lab is developing treatments for both the prevention and cure of intoxication from a number of microbial toxins, primarily bioterror threat agents such as Botulinum neurotoxins and toxins from Clostridium difficile, E. coli, anthrax and ricin. The antitoxin technology is also being adapted for the development of novel antiviral therapies. In addition, Dr. Shoemaker co-leads (with Dr. Patrick Skelly) the Molecular Helminthology Laboratory in which research is directed to the development of therapeutics and vaccines for parasitic worm infections. Research is focused on characterizing the complex host-parasite relationship in nematode and trematode diseases infecting billions of people in the developing world and causing serious economic losses in the animal industries.

Prior to arriving at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in 2003, Dr. Shoemaker led the Animal Health Research Unit at the government-owned research company, AgResearch, in New Zealand. This team of over 60 scientists and staff works to reduce the impact of disease on the animal industry and to leverage this knowledge for human health benefits. The Animal Health Unit focuses on internal parasites and tuberculosis. Dr. Shoemaker joined AgResearch in 1995 from Harvard University, where his research focused on applying biotechnology to reduce the burden of worm parasitic diseases on the developing world, particularly schistosomiasis.

Dr. Shoemaker received his PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Iowa and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Dr. David Baltimore. In 1980, Charles was one of the original scientists at the formation of Genetics Institute, Inc., a highly successful biotechnology company in Boston that was later acquired by American Home Products and is now part of Wyeth. While at Genetics Institute, he was the leader of several drug development projects that resulted in several protein pharmaceutical agents now on the market such as two currently used to treat hemophilia. Charles left Genetics Institute to join the faculty at Harvard in 1987.