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Published:April 3rd, 2007 12:03 EST
Judyth Piazza chats with Dr. Henry Daniell, University of Central Florida

Judyth Piazza chats with Dr. Henry Daniell, University of Central Florida

By Judyth Piazza CEO (Editor)

Henry Daniell was born and educated in India. He moved to the United States as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1980." Since then he has served on the faculty of Washington State University, University of Idaho Auburn University and the University of Central Florida (as Pegasus Professor & Trustee Chair)." His areas on research interest include DNA replication in chloroplast and mitochondria, identification of new genes in organelle genomes, promiscuous DNA and their evolutionary significance, maternal inheritance, transgene containment, photosynthesis (Rubisco, electron transport), chlorophyll biosynthesis, chloroplast development, in organello protein synthesis, transcription, RNA processing, RNA stability, translation, protein import, proteolysis and regulation of these processes.""

He pioneered the chloroplast genetic engineering approach in the 1980s and advanced this concept to confer useful agronomic traits (for herbicide, insect, disease resistance, drought & salt tolerance, photoremediation, cytoplasmic male sterility, etc.) and to express biomaterials (e.g. biopolymers) in transgenic plants. He has extended this technology to major crops, including cotton. Most important are his contributions to human medicine, for which he has engineered transgenic plants that produce pharmaceuticals to treat diabetes and hepatitis, as well as vaccines for anthrax, plague, cholera, and other bioterrorism agents." He is currently developing an additional arm to his technology that will enable therapeutic proteins to be administered orally, being able to deliver an effective inoculation to widespread communities."""

Dr. Daniell has published over 150 research articles which are cited in the scientific literature over 1500 times. During the last five years, he has published over 40 articles from UCF, with a dozen in the top few journals in the field (Nature Biotechnology, Plant Physiology, Current Opinion in Biotechnology, and Trends in Plant Science)." Nature Biotechnology, the premier biotechnology journal, featured articles of Dr. Daniell`s research in 1998, 2001 and 2002." Plant Physiology featured Daniell`s article on cytoplasmic male sterility on the cover in July 2005. His research has been featured in the national and international press (e.g. New York Times and Scientific American), highlighted by top scientific journals (e.g. Science and Nature), and featured by several major television networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN).""

Dr. Daniell has given invited talks in six continents including Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America to educate the public on genetically modified crops. He delivered the prestigious Bob Buchanan Award lecture at University of California, Berkeley and the Royal Society of Medicine, London in 2002. He also gave an invited lecture at the Pasteur Institute, Paris (the first seminar from a plant biologist)." His talk at Yale University is featured on their web site (see below for link)."

Dr. Daniell`s chloroplast genetic engineering technology is protected by more than ninety U.S. and international patents." To commercialize the chloroplast technology, he founded the first Biotech company at UCF:" Chlorogen, Inc. has attracted millions of dollars in investment capital from several major biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies." Chlorogen received the Frost & Sullivan award for the best biotech company for designing a creative solution to a pressing problem."

Dr. Daniell has secured more than 10 million dollars in extramural research funds and currently receives grants and contracts from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)." His high level of funding has earned him the title of UCF Millionaires Club Honoree for the past two years.

Dr. Daniell was selected as the first UCF Trustee Chair in the life sciences the first Pegasus Professor in the Burnett College of Biomedical Sciences." While on the faculty of Auburn University he received the Alumni Association and Sigma Xi Award for distinguished research career among Auburn faculty (one award among all faculty members).

Dr. Daniell is the Senior Editor of the Plant Biotechnology Journal (UK) and Biotechnology Journal (Germany). He has received several Distinguished Researcher and Teaching Excellence Awards. Dr. Daniell has served as a consultant to the United Nations in biotechnology. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, Italy in 2004, a rare honor bestowed on 14 Americans in the past 222 years." Past members from the U.S. include Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein.""

Recent research news from the Daniell lab:

"Henry Daniell served as the major professor for 18 M.S. and Ph.D. students in 2004." Oscar Ruiz was the first student to graduate from the Ph.D program in Biomolecular Science and his publication has been featured on the cover of one of the oldest journals in this field (Plant Physiology, July 2005)." He is now employed as a group leader in a Florida biotech company (Midwest Scientific). Five more students graduated from his lab with M.S. degrees in 2004/2005 and they are employed in biotech companies outside Florida or pursue doctoral studies elsewhere." Seventeen students have received M.S. & Ph.D. degrees from the Daniell laboratory since 2000." In addition, he has trained eight post-doctoral fellows and several visiting scientists from Australia, Europe, Africa and Asia in 2004-2005." Currently, he is advising ten post-doctoral fellows.

First book edited from Molecular Biology & Microbiology at UCF

Henry Daniell edited the book on Molecular Biology & Biotechnology of Plant Organelles (2004) with 25 chapters contributed by scientists from nine countries (U.S. 10; Germany 4; Canada & France 3 and one from Denmark, Sweden, Israel, Philippines & Japan)."

Undergraduate research in 2004:

Henry Daniell supervised independent study of Leads Scholars (Sri Cherukumilli) and Sri Cherkumilli won the second highest SURE award among 150 research presentations at UCF in April 2004." Sri also won the Order of Pegasus, the highest honor conferred at UCF." Undergraduate research scholars Jordan Goldstein "& Kim Tash are supported by UCF Office of Research funding and funds from his grants." Jinny Sloan won the SMART Honors Undergraduate research scholarship.

Recent International activities of Henry Daniell:

Organizing committee & session chair, Plant based vaccines & antibodies conference, Prague, June 2005.

Member, Advisory board for Canadian government, regulations on genetically modified crops, Ottawa, Canada, March 2005.

Key note address at Phytopharma, Aurangabad, sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies in India, February 2005.

Plant Biotechnology Journal, Editorial Board meeting, Oxford University, United Kingdom, December 2004.

Frontiers in Biotechnology, University of Cape Town, Lecture Series, sponsored by Cape Biotech and PlantBio, November 2004.

Key Note Speaker, Bio2BIZ International Conference, Johannesburg, South Africa, October 2004.

Chairman for the session on bioconfinement of transgenes at the 8th International Biosafety Conference of Genetically Modified Crops, Montpellier, France, September 2004.

Elected membership in Academia Nazionale Delle Scienze Detta Dei XL, Rome, Italy, April 2004; 14th American elected in 222 years." Past members include Benjamin Franklin & Albert Einstein.

Plenary speaker, Consultative Group of International Agriculture Research workshop on drought tolerant clonally propogated crops, Nairobi, Kenya, April 2004.

Invited lecture on chloroplast genetic engineering, Seminaire De Biologie Moleculaire, University of Geneva, Switzerland, March 2004.

Invited talk, Merieux Fondation International Symposium on Plant Derived vaccines and antibodies, Annecy, France, March 2004.

Plenary talk, Sixth International meeting of the Cassava Biotechnology Network, CIAT, Cali, Colombia, March 2004,

Member, Organizing committee, IAPTC& B international congress (about 1700 participants from 55 countries), July 2004.

Editor, Plant Biotechnology Journal, Blackwell Publishers, United Kingdom,

Member, Editorial Board, Scientific Journal of Food, Agriculture & Environment, Finland.

Recent National activities of Henry Daniell:

Invited speaker, Philip Morris Genomics Symposium, June 2005

Organized session on Plastid transformation at the Society for In Vitro Biology conference, Baltimore, June 2005

Invited lecture, Gene Confinement for Genetically Modified Grasses, Yale University, May 2005

Invited lecture, Genetically modified plants for producing pharmaceutical products, Yale University, May 2005

Co-organizer of the first international conference on Chloroplast Bioengineering, Urbana-Champaign, U.S.A., May 2005

Invited speaker, Plant & Animal Genome XIII international conference, San Diego, January 2005.

Invited speaker, Beltwide cotton conference, New Orleans, January 2005.

Invited presentation, booth/video, Wired Nextfest World Science Fair, One among the top six medical breakthroughs in 2004, Sponsored by GE and Wired magazine, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, 2004

Invited speaker, Ohio Plant Biotech Consortium, Toledo, OH, October 2004.

Plenary Speaker, USDA-APHIS Gene Containment Workshop, Washington DC, September 2004.

American Society of Plant Physiology, Orlando: two talks and six poster presentations, July 2004.

Invited speaker, Degussa, American Chemcal Society Foundation, Philadelphia, June 2004.

Invited speaker, World Congress on In Vitro Biology, San Francisco CA 2004.

Invited talks, U.S. Department of Interior, National Park Service workshop on Genetically Modified Organisms, Washington D.C. 2004.

Invited speaker, Plant Molecular Biology Consortium seminar and visit to Duke, University, University of North Carolina " Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, Bayer Crop Science, Syngenta Inc., BASF, 2004."

Invited speaker, Pioneer/DuPont, Johnston, Iowa, 2004

Invited speaker, University of Toledo, Plant Science Center, 2004."


News about new courses:

Henry Daniell developed the GEP course in Biotechnology & Genetic Engineering; this was approved by the GEP committee, Undergraduate Course Review Committee, University Curriculum Committee and the Faculty Senate. This is the first GEP course outside the College of Arts & Sciences and he offered this for the first time in the fall of 2004." Opening enrollment was about 300."

Henry Daniell developed the Honors Biotechnology & Business course in collaboration with Dr. Naval Modani in the College of Business administration; this course was filled up within a few hours of online enrollment. The Honors courses taught by me have attracted students from over thirty five different majors.

B.S. Biotechnology, M.S. Biotechnology, B.S. & M.S. combined (3 years) and M.S. Biotechnology & M.B.A. combined (3 years):" Henry Daniell and PK`s proposal has been approved by the provost to develop these courses." HD is in the process of developing the program and process these through various UCF curriculum committees, Senate and the Board of Trustees." These new courses are in the targeted area and will offer the best undergraduate education available in Florida and in the United States, meeting one among the goals of President Hitt.

For More Information:"