Gary F. Clark, PhD


Gary F. Clark, PhD, is a researcher whose primary area of interest is glycobiology — the study of the structure, function and biology of carbohydrate sequences (glycans). He is focused on defining the role of carbohydrate recognition in mediating human and mammalian sperm-egg binding.

Another area of interest for Dr. Clark is determining the role of glycosylation in inducing immune tolerance to the histoincompatible human during development in utero. He developed a novel hypothetical model known as the human fetoembryonic defense system (hu-FEDS) hypothesis to explain how this tolerance was manifested. Recently, his findings were employed to develop a therapeutic cancer vaccine that has been thoroughly tested in dogs. This vaccine effectively induces complete remissions in 35-40 percent of vaccinated dogs without inducing any adverse effects in any treated dog. This novel immunotherapy was recently translated to veterinary oncology clinics, and Dr. Clark’s next goal is to test it on human cancer patients.


Academic Information

Associate Research Professor
P. 573-884-3135

Research Interests

  • Translating to the human oncology clinic an autologous tumor vaccine that induces complete remissions of cancer in dogs without any adverse events
  • Determining the major cause of severe preeclampsia in pregnant women
  • Developing methods for early diagnosis of preeclampsia and therapeutic interventions that address this pathological state in pregnant women
  • Defining the role of glycosylation in evoking the immune tolerant state that enables the histoincompatible human fetus to survive maternal immune challenge in utero. 

Areas of Expertise

  • Glycobiology
  • Tumor Biology
  • Reproductive Biology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cancer Vaccines 

Education & Training


Department of Cancer Biology, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston Texas
Department of Biochemistry, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Post-Graduate School

Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC

Awards & Honors

  • Invited Speaker, Gordon Conference on Glycobiology
  • Competitive National Research Service Award, NICHD, NIH
  • Dean’s Fellow, Bowman Gray School of Medicine
  • Fellow International Institute for Advanced Studies (IIAS) (Japan)


  • Chen, Q., Pang, P.-C., Cohen, M. E., Longtine, M. S., Schust, D. J., Haslam, S. M., Blois, S. M., Dell, A. and Clark, G. F. (2016) Evidence of differential glycosylation of trophoblast cell types. Mol. Cell. Proteomics 15, 1857-1866.  PMID 26929217
  • Pang, P.-C., Haslam, S. M., Dell, A. and Clark, G.F. (2016) The human fetoembryonic defense system: twenty years on. Mol. Aspects Med. (epub)  PMID 27349751
  • Clark, G. F. (2015) Functional glycosylation in the mammalian uterus. Fert. Res. Practice 1, 17. Clark, G.F. (2014) A role for carbohydrate recognition in mammalian sperm-egg binding. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 450, 1195-1203. (invited review)  PMID 24952156
  • Clark, G. F. (2014) The role of glycans in immune evasion: the human fetoembryonic defence system hypothesis revisited. Mol. Hum. Reprod. 20, 185-199. (invited review)  PMID 24043694   PMCID 3925329
  • Clark, G. F. (2013) Manifestations of immune tolerance in the human female reproductive tract. Front. Immunol. 4, 26  doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2013.00026.  PMID 23407606   PMCID 3570961
  • Clark, G. F. (2013) The role of carbohydrate recognition in human sperm-egg binding. Hum. Reprod. 28, 566-577.  PMID 23315069
  • Clark, G. F. (2013) Sialyl-Lewisx oligosaccharide. McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science and Technology 2013, pp. 340-343.
  • Clark, G. F., Grassi, P., Pang, P.-C., Panico, M., Lafrenz, D.E., Drobnis, E. Z., Baldwin, M. R., Morris, H. R., Haslem, S. M., Schedin-Weiss, S. Sun, W. and Dell, A. (2012) Tumor biomarker glycoproteins present in the seminal plasma of healthy human males are endogenous ligands for DC-SIGN. Mol. Cell. Proteomics M111.008730. doi: 10.1074/mcp.M111.008730  PMID 21986992  PMCID 3270097