Pamela Lescault

Identification of Genes Involved in the Bradyzoite Differentiation Pathway of Toxoplasma gondii


Pamela is from Massachusetts and earned a MS from the University of Vermont in 2008 where she worked under the supervision of Dr. Mariana Matrajt studying the developmental process of differentiation in the protozoan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii. She is currently working towards her Ph.D. under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Bond and Dr. Giselle Sholler using microarray and statistical analyses to understand cellular heterogeneity within Neuroblastoma patient samples with an eye towards personalized medicine. The University of Vermont combines cutting-edge research with a warm and competitive community in a beautiful country setting.

Research Description

Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate, intracellular parasite that has the ability to infect almost any nucleated animal cell. Infection is asymptomatic in immunocompetent individuals but can cause life threatening complications in immunocompromised individuals. Toxoplasma replicates both sexually and asexually. Sexual reproduction only occurs in cats and the infectious sporozoites are released through the feces. Asexual reproduction occurs in a wide range of intermediate hosts and consists of two developmental stages; the fast growing tachyzoites and the slow growing bradyzoites. Infection most often occurs through ingestion of raw meat that contains bradyzoite cysts. Since the asexual cycle is clearly central to toxoplasma pathogenesis, we are interested in studying the interconversion between tachyzoites and bradyzoites. In order to identify genes that regulate the conversion between these two stages, a transgenic parasite line harboring a selectable marker was generated and used to screen for parasites unable to form bradyzoites. At present, my research focuses on identifying and characterizing the genes affected in one of the bradyzoite differentiation mutants, B7.

Selected Publications

De Vivo I, Huggins GS, Hankinson SE, Lescault PJ, Boezen M, Colditz GA, Hunter DJ. A functional polymorphism in the promoter of the progesterone receptor gene associated with endometrial cancer risk. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Sep 17;99(19):12263-8. Epub 2002 Sep 06.

Tranah GJ, Lescault PJ, Hunter DJ, De Vivo I. Multiple displacement amplification prior to single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping in epidemiologic studies. Biotechnol Lett. 2003 Jul;25(13):1031-6.

Cramer DW, Hornstein MD, McShane P, Powers RD, Lescault PJ, Vitonis AF, De Vivo I. Human progesterone receptor polymorphisms and implantation failure during in vitro fertilization. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Oct;189(4):1085-92.

Contact Info


Office: E315A Given

Lab: E315A Given

Lab Homepage


   Jeffrey Bond, Ph.D.

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