About the Lab

Toxoplasma gondii is one of the most widespread parasites on the planet, capable of infecting any warm-blooded animal, including humans. Approximately one fifth of Americans carry T. gondii in their muscle and brain tissue. Infections can be life threatening in the unborn fetus or in people whose immune systems have become compromised as a result of immunosuppressive therapy or HIV infection. The parasite uses sophisticated cell biological tricks to invade the host cell and, once inside, to redirect the energy and efforts of the host cell to its own advantage. Our lab studies the mechanisms by which T. gondii moves through tissues and gains entry into the cells of its hosts. We hope that a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying parasite motility and host cell invasion will lead to the development of new approaches to treating the devastating diseases caused by T. gondii and related parasites.

_T. gondii_ 3D motility in Matrigel T. gondii 3D motility in Matrigel

Congratulations to recent lab alum Rachel Stadler on being awarded a Malaria Research Program Collaborative Postdoctoral Fellowship at NIH!

Selected Publications

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  • A circular zone of attachment to the extracellular matrix provides directionality to the motility of Toxoplasma gondii in 3D (2022)

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  • The class XIV myosin of Toxoplasma gondii, TgMyoA, is druggable in an animal model of infection (2022)

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  • Blocking palmitoylation of Toxoplasma gondii myosin light chain 1 disrupts glideosome composition but has little impact on parasite motility (2021)

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  • Structural and mechanistic insights into the function of the unconventional class-XIV myosin, MyoA, from Toxoplasma gondii (2018)

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  • Parasites lacking the micronemal protein MIC2 are deficient in surface attachment and host cell egress, but remain virulent in vivo (2017)

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  • Not a simple tether: Binding of Toxoplasma gondii AMA1 to RON2 during invasion protects AMA1 from rhomboid-mediated cleavage and leads to dephosphorylation of its cytosolic tail (2016)

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Toxoplasma Motility 1

Kim Carey and Gary Ward

Toxoplasma Motility 2

Kim Carey and Gary Ward

Toxoplasma 3D Motility 1

Jacqueline Leung and Gary Ward

In vitro Motility 1

Anne Kelsen, David Warshaw and Gary Ward

Toxoplasma Invasion 1

Kim Carey and Gary Ward

Toxoplasma Invasion 2

Kim Carey and Gary Ward

Toxoplasma Invasion 3

Gary Ward and students of the 2009 Biology of Parasitism Course

Plasmodium Invasion 1

Jim Dvorak and Gary Ward

Plasmodium Invasion 2

Jim Dvorak and Gary Ward

Meetings and Seminars

  • CMB Seminar

    Tuesdays, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM, Davis Auditorium (Schedule)

  • MMG Departmental Seminar

    Wednesdays, 9:30-10:30 AM, MeEd 200 (Schedule)

  • Translational Global Infectious Diseases Research Center (TGIR) seminar series

    Thursdays, 10-11 AM, HSRF 400 (Schedule)

  • VCIID RIP Meeting

    Thursdays, 9-10 AM, HSRF 300 (Schedule)

  • Ward Lab and Data Meetings

    Tuesdays, 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM, Stafford 301 (Schedule)


  • gary.ward@uvm.edu
  • 802 656 1146 (lab) --- 802 656 4868 (office)
  • 316 Stafford Hall, 95 Carrigan Drive, Burlington VT 05405