Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University
Patrick Skelly

Professor and Associate Chair

Parasitology, Molecular & Cellular Helminthology

Campus Phone:


Patrick J. Skelly, PhD, Professor, jointly runs the Molecular Helminthology Laboratory at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine with Professor Charles B. Shoemaker. A major focus of the laboratory is using newer molecular technologies, notably RNAi, to study helminth molecular and cell biology. Before coming to Tufts, Patrick was on the faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health. He received his PhD in Biochemistry in 1986 at the Australian National University from his work on the cuticle of the ectoparasite, Lucilia cuprina. Patrick is a past president of the New England Association of Parasitologists and is a member of the Ashton Cuckler New Investigator Committee of the American Society of Parasitologists.


  • PhD - Australian National University, Canberra, Australia - 1986
  • BS - University College Dublin, Ireland - 1981
  1. Da'dara AA, Bhardwaj R, Ali YB, Skelly PJ. Schistosome tegumental ecto-apyrase (SmATPDase1) degrades exogenous pro-inflammatory and pro-thrombotic nucleotides. PeerJ. 2014 Mar 18;2:e316. doi: 10.7717/peerj.316.
  2. Skelly PJ. The use of imaging to detect schistosomes and diagnose schistosomiasis. Parasite Immunol. 2013 Sep-Oct;35(9-10):295-301. doi: 10.1111/pim.12040.
  3. Schistosome Na,K-ATPase as a therapeutic target. Da'dara AA, Faghiri Z, Krautz-Peterson G, Bhardwaj R, Skelly PJ. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2013 Feb;107(2):74-82.
  4. Metabolite movement across the schistosome surface. Da'dara A, Krautz-Peterson G, Faghiri Z, Skelly PJ. J Helminthol. 2012 Jun;86(2):141-7.
  5. Schistosoma comparative genomics: integrating genome structure, parasite biology and anthelmintic discovery. Swain MT, Larkin DM, Caffrey CR, Davies SJ, Loukas A, Skelly PJ, Hoffmann KF. Trends Parasitol. 2011 Dec;27(12):555-64.
  6. Tegumental phosphodiesterase SmNPP-5 is a virulence factor for schistosomes. Bhardwaj R, Krautz-Peterson G, Da'dara A, Tzipori S, Skelly PJ.
    Infect Immun. 2011 Oct;79(10):4276-84.
  7. Using RNA interference in Schistosoma mansoni. Bhardwaj R, Krautz-Peterson G, Skelly PJ. Methods Mol Biol. 2011;764:223-39.
  8. Manipulation of vascular function by blood flukes? Da'dara A, Skelly PJ. Blood Rev. 2011 Jul;25(4):175-9. doi: :10.1016/j.blre.2011.04.002.
  9. Characterization of schistosome tegumental alkaline phosphatase (SmAP). Bhardwaj R, Skelly PJ.
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2011 Apr 5;5(4):e1011. PMID:21483710
  10. Suppressing glucose transporter gene expression in schistosomes impairs parasite feeding and decreases survival in the mammalian host. Krautz-Peterson G, Simoes M, Faghiri Z, Ndegwa D, Oliveira G, Shoemaker CB, Skelly PJ.
    PLoS Pathog. 2010 Jun 3;6(6):e1000932. PMID: 20532163
  11. The tegument of the human parasitic worm Schistosoma mansoni as an excretory organ: the surface aquaporin SmAQP is a lactate transporter. Faghiri Z, Camargo SM, Huggel K, Forster IC, Ndegwa D, Verrey F, Skelly PJ.
    PLoS One. 2010 May 3;5(5):e10451. PMID: 20454673
  12. RNA interference in schistosomes: machinery and methodology.Krautz-Peterson G, Bhardwaj R, Faghiri Z, Tararam CA, Skelly PJ. Parasitology. 2010 Mar;137(3):485-95. Epub 2009 Sep 21. PMID: 19765345
  13. Purinergic signaling and immune modulation at the schistosome surface? Bhardwaj R, Skelly PJ. Trends Parasitol. 2009 Jun;25(6):256-60. Epub 2009 May 5. PMID: 19423396
  14. The role of tegumental aquaporin from the human parasitic worm,Schistosoma mansoni, in osmoregulation and drug uptake. Faghiri Z, Skelly PJ. FASEB J. 2009 Aug;23(8):2780-9. Epub 2009 Apr 13. PMID: 19364765
  15. Imaging schistosomes in vivo. Krautz-Peterson G, Ndegwa D, Vasquez K, Korideck H, Zhang J, Peterson JD, Skelly PJ. FASEB J. 2009 Aug;23(8):2673-80. Epub 2009 Apr 3. PMID: 19346298
  16. Fighting killer worms. Skelly P. Sci Am. 2008 May;298(5):94-9. PMID: 18444331
  17. Amino acid transport in schistosomes: Characterization of the permease heavy chain SPRM1hc. Krautz-Peterson G, Camargo S, Huggel K, Verrey F, Shoemaker CB, Skelly PJ. J Biol Chem. 2007 Jul 27;282(30):21767-75. Epub 2007 Jun 1. PMID: 17545149
  18. Optimizing gene suppression in schistosomes using RNA interference. Krautz-Peterson G, Radwanska M, Ndegwa D, Shoemaker CB, Skelly PJ. Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2007 Jun;153(2):194-202. Epub 2007 Mar 12. PMID: 17420062
  19. Sex and the Single Schistosome Skelly PJ.; Natural History. 2008; Jun;117(5):22-27

General Research Interests

  • Parasitology, molecular and cellular helminthology

Selected Research Projects

  1. Gene silencing in schistosomes using RNA interference (RNAi): This research project is designed to provide a simple, powerful and widely applicable protocol for suppressing gene expression in parasitic platyhelminths (schistosomes) using RNAi and thereby to facilitate functional schistosome genomics.
  2. Molecular and Cellular Biology of the Schistosome Surface: This project is designed to identify and characterize host-interactive parasite surface molecules with a view to testing them as vaccine candidates.


DVM Curriculum

  • Veterinary Molecular Biology (VET 112), Course Director
  • Immunology (VET 109)
  • General Parasitology (VET 203)
  • Microbial Pathogenesis (VET 201)

PhD and Master’s Degree Curriculum

  • Parasite Biology (VET 652), Course Director
  • Conservation Medicine: Field and Laboratory Techniques (VET 582)

Research Interests by Area

Infectious Diseases: Prevention and Control
  • Vaccine against Schistosoma mansoni; new drugs to treat schistosomiasis
Infectious Diseases: Pathogenesis/Host Response
  • Helminth host/parasite interface and interaction

Laboratory Personnel

Find Out More about Dr. Skelly's Work

PatrickSkellyThe Most Important Disease You’ve Never Heard Of
Tufts’ veterinary school researchers are among a handful worldwide seeking a cure for a debilitating parasitic infection that afflicts over 200 million people - Read the full article on Tufts Now.