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 Rachel Stadler on her NIH F31 predoctoral fellowship and Robyn Kent on her AHA postdoctoral fellowship!

Selected Publications

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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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  • Differential requirements of cyclase associated protein (CAP) for actin turnover during the lytic cycle of Toxoplasma gondii (2019)

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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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  • Disruption of TgPHIL1 alters specific parameters of Toxoplasma gondii motility measured in a quantitative, three-dimensional live motility assay (2014)

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Movies

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, Davis Auditorum (Schedule)

  • Vermont Center for Immunobiology and Infectious Disease Lab Meeting

    Thursdays, 8:30-10 AM, HSRF 400 (Schedule)

  • Ward Lab and Data Meetings

    Tuesdays, 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM, Zoom (Schedule)

Contact

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