Henry Daniell

Henry Daniell, PhD

Vice-Chair and W.D. Miller Professor
Department of Basic & Translational Sciences
Levy Building, Room 547
Phone: 215-746-2563
Email: hdaniell@upenn.edu
Professional Biography

Inspired by issues of healthcare inequity and global human rights, Henry Daniell has developed and advanced a novel approach to orally delivering affordable biopharmaceuticals, eliminating expensive injections and refrigeration. He has developed drugs to treat dental caries, diabetes, hemophilia, pulmonary hypertension, diabetic retinopathy, and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as oral vaccines for cholera, tuberculosis, malaria, polio, and plague. Daniell is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the 14th foreign member of Italy’s 240-year-old National Academy of Science. He has been honored for his groundbreaking work by organizations including the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and is the recipient of the Bayer Healthcare Global Award.

The high cost of current vaccines and biopharmaceuticals is largely due to their complex production and delivery methods, including the significant costs of fermentation and purification systems and additional expenses associated with cold storage, transportation and sterile delivery. Therefore, Dr. Daniell pioneered and advanced the concept of expressing foreign genes in chloroplasts with major emphasis on vaccines and biopharmaceuticals. In addition to high levels of expression, protection of therapeutic proteins in the stomach by bio-encapsulation within plant cells and their release in the gut for presentation to the mucosal immune system or circulatory system, facilitate oral delivery of vaccines or auto-antigens. Oral delivery of bio-encapsulated vaccine antigens in high doses along with prime boost confers both mucosal and systemic immunity and greater protection against pathogens than delivery by injections alone.

In collaboration with his former student Roland Herzog, Daniell lab demonstrated that oral delivery of coagulation factor IX prevented the devastating inhibitor antibody response and pathogenic antibody formation that predisposes to life-threatening anaphylactic reactions to the therapeutic protein. Daniell lab has also demonstrated that oral delivery of proinsulin (without any priming) expressed in chloroplasts delayed the onset of type 1 diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice. Oral delivery of exendin-4 expressed in plant cells regulated blood glucose levels similar to injections by stimulating insulin secretion and a 5,000 fold excess dose didn’t cause hypoglycemia because insulinotropism of exendin-4 is glucose dependent. Some of his ongoing projects include the development of oral vaccines against infectious diseases (polio, tuberculosis, malaria, cholera, anthrax, plague, etc.) and oral tolerance against autoimmune disorders (type 1 diabetes, Pompe’s disease, multiple sclerosis etc). His lab also uses therapeutic protein delivery to degrade plaques in advanced Alzheimer’s brains or regulate blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes.

These investigations have resulted in >200 publications (several featured on covers of high impact journals), 50 awarded and >150 published global patents. Dr. Daniell’s research is currently supported by several NIH grants and funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bayer, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Department of Energy and USDA.

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Honors / Credentials
  • Foreign Member of the National Academy of Sciences, Italy, 14th American in 240-year history of this Academy, inducted in 2004; 1st American member – Benjamin Franklin inducted in 1786
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2007
  • Editor in Chief, Plant Biotechnology Journal, Oxford, UK 2012; Founding Editor 2002
  • Professor of Medicine, Pegasus Professor & University Board of Trustee Chair, UCF 1998-2013
  • Professor, Associate Professor of Molecular Genetics, Auburn University, 1991-98
  • Visiting Faculty, Harvard University, Cambridge, 1988
  • Bayer Hemophilia Award, Buenos Aires, one among five global awards for outstanding research, 2010
  • American Diabetes Association Award for outstanding contributions in diabetes research, 2008
  • US Senate Briefing: Invitation by the NIH, Presentation of research to US Senators, 2007.
  • US National Academy of Sciences: Chair, Super Panel Member, FCATP, 2008
  • Featured in Nature Biotechnology for pioneering one among top nine inventions of the decade, 2007
  • Featured among BioMed Central’s top 100 scientists/authors 2006/2007
  • UCF Research Incentive Award for outstanding research contributions, 2002-2013
  • UCF Teaching Excellence Award for outstanding teaching contributions, 2002-2007
  • Distinguished lectures at Harvard, Yale, Pasteur Institute, Royal Society of Medicine, UC Berkeley, etc.
  • Featured on Discovery Channel, Voice of America, BBC, CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, global press
  • Research highlighted in New York Times, Scientific American, Nature, Science, Nature Biotechnology
  • Patentee, >50 Awarded US and international Patents; >150 published patents.
  • Consultant to the United Nations on biotechnology since 1989, expert on mission 1989 -1991
Selected Publications
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  • Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign (Biochemistry), 1980-83
  • Ph.D., M.K. University (Biochemistry), 1976-80