Professor Shoemaker currently leads research focused on the development and application of therapeutic biomolecules for treating a wide variety of diseases. Most of our therapeutic agents employ single domain antibody (sdAb) binding agents consisting of the VH region of heavy-chain-only Abs (VHHs) from immunized alpacas which have been selected for their ability to neutralize critical pathogen functions. These simple, stable agents are engineered in a variety of ways to produce agents having excellent therapeutic efficacies in animal models. Employing these VHH-based neutralizing agents (VNAs) we have developed novel antitoxin agents for the prevention and treatment of a wide variety of toxin exposures including Botulinum neurotoxins, anthrax and ricin, and toxin-mediated diseases such as from Clostridium difficile and pathogenic E. coli infections. We are also working to develop Anti-infective VNAs targeting several microbial and viral pathogens. Dr. Shoemaker and Dr. Patrick Skelly co-lead the Molecular Helminthology Laboratory in which research is directed to the development of therapeutics and vaccines for parasitic worm infections, often applying our recombinant antibody technologies. Therapeutic targets are identified through studies 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 worked to reduce the impact of disease on the animal industry and to leverage this knowledge for human health benefits. Research in the Animal Health Unit primarily centered on internal parasites and bovine tuberculosis. Dr. Shoemaker had 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 hemophilia. Chuck left Genetics Institute to join the faculty at Harvard in 1987.