Matt Wargo, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Training & Education

Dr. Wargo received his Ph.D. in 2005 from Dartmouth College, studying the eukaryotic flagellar motility with Dr. Elizabeth F. Smith. For postdoctoral research, he studied bacterial molecular pathogenesis with Dr. Hogan at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and mammalian lung biology with Dr. Laurie LeClair (Whittaker) at UVM, before joining the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics in 2009. 

Research Interests

We are interested in how bacteria detect their surroundings and respond accordingly, both during infection and when in the presence of other bacteria. The two bacteria we focus on are the Gram-negative opportunistic lung pathogens Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, though we also work with Klebsiella pneumoniae and species in the genus Burkholderia. 

We are trying to answer two questions: 
  1. How do these bacteria detect the lung environment to cause infection?
  2. How do these bacteria integrate signals and metabolites to compete with other bacteria in multispecies communities?
   As microbial geneticists, we use high throughput forward genetic screens in combination with transcriptomics to identify genes important for bacterial growth, survival, and/or pathogenesis in either the mammalian lung or a multispecies community that mimics the pre-infection niche of our bacteria of interest, tap water. 
   The end goal of our research is to identify metabolic or regulatory pathways that can be targeted to develop new anti-infectives or adjunctive therapies.

Featured Publications

Willsey, G.G., Ventrone, S., Schutz, K.C., Wallace, A.M., Ribis, J.W., Suratt, B.T., and Wargo, M.J. 2018 Pulmonary surfactant promotes virulence gene expression and biofilm formation in Klebsiella pneumoniae. Infection and Immunity 86(7):e00135-18  PMCID: PMC6013664

English, E.L., Schutz, K.C., Willsey, G.G., and Wargo, M.J. 2018. Transcriptional responses of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to potable water and freshwater. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 84(6):e02350-17 PMCID: PMC5835727

Meadows, J.A., Willsey, G.G., and Wargo, M.J. 2018. Differential requirements for processing and transport of short-chain versus long-chain O-acylcarnitines in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Microbiology 164(4):635-645  PMCID: PMC5806209

Willsey, G.G. and Wargo, M.J. 2015. Extracellular lipase and protease production from a model drinking water bacterial community is functionally robust to absence of individual members. PLoS One 10(11):e0143617. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0143617. PMCID: PMC4657875.

LaBauve, A.E. and Wargo, M.J. 2014. Detection of host-derived sphingosine by Pseudomonas aeruginosa is important for survival in the murine lung. PLoS Pathogens 10(1): e1003889. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003889. PMCID: PMC3900636

All Wargo publications

Matt Wargo, PhD

Contact Information

Office: 308B Stafford

Phone: 802-656-1115



Lab Team

Korin Eckstrom, Technician
Lauren Hinkel, Graduate Student
Kristin Schutz, Lab Manager