Matt Wargo, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Training & Education

Dr. Wargo received his Ph.D. in 2005 from Dartmouth College, studying eukaryotic flagellar motility with Dr. Elizabeth F. Smith. For postdoctoral research, he studied bacterial molecular pathogenesis with Dr. Deborah 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

Thompson, A.F., English, E.L., Nock, A.M., Willsey, G.G., Eckstrom, K., Cairns, B.M., Bavelock, M., Tighe, S.W., Foote, A., Shulman, H., Pericleous, A., Gupta, S., Kadouri, D., and Wargo, M.J. 2019. Characterizing species interactions that contribute to biofilm formation in a multispecies model of a potable water bacterial community. Microbiology 10.1099/mic.0.000849  [Chosen for press release by journal]  PMCID: in progress

Willsey, G.G., Eckstrom, K., LaBauve, A.E., Hinkel, L.A., Schutz, K., Meagher, R., LiPuma, J.J., and Wargo, M.J. 2019. Stenotrophomonas maltophilia differential gene expression in synthetic cystic fibrosis sputum reveals shared and cystic fibrosis strain-specific responses to the sputum environment. Journal of Bacteriology 201:e00074-19. PMCID: PMC6620408

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

Meadows, J.A. and Wargo, M.J. 2018. Transcriptional regulation of carnitine catabolism in Pseudomonas aeruginosa by CdhR. mSphere 3(1):e00480-17. PMCID: PMC5806209

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


All Wargo publications

Wargo Lab team smiling

Contact Information

Office: 308B Stafford

Phone: 802-656-1115



Lab Team

Kristin Schutz, Lab Manager