Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University
Charles Shoemaker


Molecular Helminthology, Bacterial Toxins

Campus Phone:


Professor 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 fromClostridium difficileE. 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 Tufts 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, Chuck 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 haemophilia. Chuck left Genetics Institute to join the faculty at Harvard in 1987.


  • PhD - University of Iowa - 1979
  • BS - University of NH - 1975
  1. Silhár P, Lardy MA, Hixon MS, Shoemaker CB, Barbieri JT, Struss AK, Lively JM, Javor S, Janda KD. 2013. The C-terminus of Botulinum A Protease Has Profound and Unanticipated Kinetic Consequences Upon the Catalytic Cleft. ACS Med Chem Lett. 4:283-287. PMCID: PMC3615567
  2. Tremblay JM, Mukherjee J, Leysath CE, Debatis M, Ofori K, Baldwin K, Boucher C, Peters R, Beamer G, Sheoran A, Bedenice D, Tzipori S, Shoemaker CB. 2013. A single VHH-based toxin neutralizing agent and an effector antibody protects mice against challenge with Shiga toxins 1 and 2. Infect Immun. Dec;81(12):4592-603. doi: 10.1128/IAI.01033-13. Epub 2013 Sep 30. PMCID: PMC3837998
  3. Jiang W, Rosenberg JN, Wauchope AD, Tremblay JM, Shoemaker CB, Weeks DP, Oyler GA. Generation of a phage-display library of single-domain camelid VHH antibodies directed against Chlamydomonas reinhardtii antigens, and characterization of VHHs binding cell-surface antigens. Plant J. 2013 Nov;76(4):709-17.
  4. Farias LP, Krautz-Peterson G, Tararam CA, Araujo-Montoya BO, Fraga TR, Rofatto HK, Silva-Jr FP, Isaac L, Da’dara AA, Wilson RA, Shoemaker CB, Leite LCC. 2013. On the three-finger protein domain fold and CD59-like proteins in Schistosoma mansoni. PLoS Negl. Dis. 7:e2482. PMCID: PMC3812095
  5. Vance DJ, Tremblay JM, Mantis NJ, Shoemaker CB. 2013. Stepwise engineering of heterodimeric single domain camelid VHH antibodies that passively protect mice from ricin toxin. J. Biol. Chem. Dec 20;288(51):36538-47. PMCID:PMC3868766.
  6. Yang Z, Schmidt D, Liu W, Li S, Shi L, Sheng J, Chen K, Yu H, Tremblay JM, Chen X, Piepenbrink KH, Sundberg EJ, Kelly CP, Bai G, Shoemaker CB, Feng H. 2014. “A novel multivalent, single-domain antibody targeting TcdA and TcdB prevents fulminant Clostridium difficile infection in mice”. J. Inf. Dis. May 5 [Epub ahead of print].
  7. Rudolph MJ, Vance DJ, Cheung J, Franklin MC, Burshteyn F, Cassidy MS, Gary EN, Herrera C, Shoemaker CB, Mantis N. 2014. Crystal Structures of Ricin Toxin's Enzymatic Subunit (RTA) in Complex with Neutralizing and Non-neutralizing Single Chain Antibodies. J Mol Biol. 2014 Jun 4. pii: S0022-2836(14)00276-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2014.05.026. [Epub ahead of print].
  8. Herrera C, Vance DJ, Eisle L, Shoemaker CB, Mantis N. 2014. Differential Neutralizing Activities of a Single Domain Camelid Antibody (VHH) Specific for Ricin Toxin's Binding Subunit (RTB). PLoS ONE.Herrera C, Vance DJ, Eisele LE, Shoemaker CB, Mantis NJ. PLoS One. 2014 Jun 11;9(6):e99788.
  9. Shoemaker CB, Oyler GA. 2013. Persistence of botulinum neurotoxin inactivation of nerve function. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol.364:179-96. PMCID: PMC3528263.
  10. Krautz-Peterson, Oyler GA, Feng H, Shoemaker CB. 2012. Retargeting Clostridium difficile toxin B to neuronal cells as a potential vehicle for cytosolic delivery of therapeutic biomolecules to treat botulism. J. Toxicol. 2012:760142.
  11. Mukherjee J, Tremblay JM, Leysath CE, Ofori K, Baldwin K, Feng X, Bedenice D, Webb RP, Wright PM, Smith LA, Tzipori S, Shoemaker CB.2012. A novel strategy for development of recombinant antitoxin therapeutics tested in a mouse botulism model. PLoS ONE. 7(1):e29941.
  12. Gu S, Rumpel S, Zhou J, Strotmeier J, Bigalke H, Perry K, Shoemaker CB, Rummel A, Jin R. 2012. Botulinum neurotoxin is shielded by NTNHA in an interlocked complex. Science. 335:977-981.
  13. Kuo CL, Oyler GA, Shoemaker CB. 2011. Accelerated neuronal cell recovery from botulinum neurotoxin intoxication by targeted ubiquitination. PLoS ONE. 6(5):e20352.
  14. Tsai YC, Maditz R, Kuo CL, Fishman PS, Shoemaker CB, Oyler GA, Weissman AM. 2010. Targeting botulinum neurotoxin persistence by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 107:16554-9. PMCID: PMC2944746.
  15. Tremblay JM, Kuo CL, Abeijon C, Sepulveda J, Oyler G, Hu X, Jin MM, Shoemaker CB. 2010. Camelid single domain antibodies (VHHs) as neuronal cell intrabody binding agents and inhibitors of Clostridium botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) proteases. Toxicon. 56:990-8. PMCID: PMC2946066.
  16. Krautz-Peterson G, Simoes M, Faghiri Z, Ndegwa D, Oliveira G, Shoemaker CB, Skelly PJ. 2010. Suppressing glucose transporter gene expression in schistosomes impairs parasite feeding and decreases survival in the mammalian host. Plos Pathogens. 6:e1000932. PMCID: PMC2880588.
  17. Sepulveda J, Tremblay JM, Skelly PJ, Shoemaker CB. 2010.Schistosoma mansoni host-exposed surface antigens characterized by sera and recombinant antibodies from schistosomiasis resistant rats. Int. J. Parasitol. 40:1407-17. PMCID: PMC2939210.
  18. Sepulveda J, Mukherjee J, Tzipori S, Simpson LL, Shoemaker CB. 2010. Efficient serum clearance of Botulinum neurotoxin achieved using a pool of small antitoxin binding agents. Infection and Immunity. 78:756-63. PMCID: PMC2812214.
  19. Kuo CL, Oyler G, Shoemaker CB. 2010. Lipid and cationic polymer based transduction of botulinum holotoxin, or toxin protease alone, extends the target cell range and improves the efficiency of intoxication. Toxicon. 55:619-29. PMCID: PMC2813905.
  20. Maass DR, Harrison GB, Grant WN, Hein WR, Shoemaker CB. 2009.Intraspecific epitopic variation in a carbohydrate antigen exposed on the surface of Trichostrongylus colubriformis infective L3 larvae. PLoS Pathogens. Sep;5:e1000597. PMCID: PMC2742895.

General Research Interests

Selected Research Projects

  1. Probing the helminth host/parasite interface with phage-displayed antibodies
  2. VHH-based neutralizing agents for antitoxin therapy
  3. Agents that target toxins for proteasome degradation

Research Interests by Area

Infectious Diseases: Prevention and Control
  • Botulism antidotes and anti-toxins
Infectious Diseases: Genetics and Genomics
  • Helminth parasite genomics
Infectious Diseases: Pathogenesis/Host Response
  • Helminth host/parasite interface and interaction
  • Helminth parasite vaccines

Laboratory Personnel

Shoemaker/Skelly Lab:

  • Dr. Greice Krautz-Peterson
  • Dr. Akram d'Adara
  • Ms. Jacque Tremblay
  • Ms. Michelle Debatis
  • Dr. Mary Drozd
  • Mr. Qiang Wang