David B. Weiner, Ph.D.

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Emeritus Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Department: Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
The Wistar Institute
3601 Spruce St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-898-0381
B.S. (Biology)
SUNY at Stony Brook, NY, 1978.
M.S. (Biology)
University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, 1985.
Ph.D. (Developmental Biology Graduate Program)
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, 1986.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests
DNA vaccines for infectious diseases or cancers, T cell immunity, Active immunization.

Key words: DNA Vaccines, HIV, T cells, humoral immunity., Electroporation, Gene adjuvants, Vaccines.

Description of Research
Dr. Weiner’s research focus is in the area of Molecular Immunology. His group has focused extensively on the development of gene-based vaccines, immune therapies and molecular interventions for the treatment of human and animal disease. His laboratory is one of the founders of the field of DNA vaccines, and importantly, was the first to move DNA vaccines to human clinical studies establishing their initial safety and immunogenicity opening up this area for clinical development. First study in HIV immune therapy conducted in 1995, and first immune therapy for cancer (CTCL) in 1995. The first DNA trial in normal healthy HIV+ patients occurred in 1997.

Other clinical trials of DNA, conducted in collaboration with the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) are: HVTN 070, study of DNA vaccine against HIB including cytokine genes, and HVTN 080, study of DNA vaccine for HIV by adaptive electroporation with IL12. In 2009, collaboration with a biotechnology company resulted in VGX 3100, a study of a DNA vaccine for cervical cancer and immune therapy.

His group was the first to show that a DNA based approach could impact an HIV model challenge in nonhuman primates. Based on these accomplishments Dr. Weiner contributed to the initial ‘Points to Consider’ guidance document for the FDA on moving gene based approaches through the Clinic. He has created many new technologies for treatment of human disease and has been awarded more than 50 patents on his laboratory’s work. His lab is instrumental in the recent resurgence of interest in the DNA vaccine field due to the lab and collaborators developing new vectors and delivery approaches that improved their immune potency in humans. He is very active in teaching and training of students and fellows and junior faculty. He chairs the popular Gene Therapy and Vaccines Program at the University of Pennsylvania, and co directs the Tumor Virology Program of the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Rotation Projects
Enhancing DNA vaccines for HIV and other pathogens through the use of plasmid encoded immune-modulatory molecules. Direction of the in vivo immune response to DNA Vaccines through the use of cytokine engineering. Active immunization as an approach to HIV immune therapy. Immune responses to DNA vaccines for Dengue, Influenza, Tuberculosis, Malaria, and Hepatitis C and tumor antigens.

Lab personnel:
Bernadette Ferraro - Postdoctoral Fellow
Muthumani Karuppiah - Assistant Professor-Research
Jewell Walters - Postdoctoral Fellow
Daniel Villarreal - PhD Student
Megan Wise - PhD Student
Seleeke Flingai - PhD Student
Emma Reuschel - PhD Student
Veronica Scott - Postdoctoral Fellow
Jaemi Chu - Research Technician
Colleen Tingey - Research Technician
Michael Merva - Lab Manager

Description of Clinical Expertise

Clinical immunology, Clinical Vaccine trial development

Selected Publications

Ferraro B, Talbott KT, Balakrishnan A, Cisper N, Morrow MP, Hutnick NA, Myles DJ, Shedlock DJ, Obeng-Adjei N, Yan J, Kayatani AK, Richie N, Cabrera W, Shiver R, Khan AS, Brown AS, Yang M, Wille-Reece U, Birkett AJ, Sardesai NY, Weiner DB. : Inducing humoral and cellular responses to multiple sporozoite and liver-stage malaria antigens using exogenous plasmid DNA. Infect Immun. Page: 3709-20, Oct 2013.

Kalams SA, Parker SD, Elizaga M, Metch B, Edupuganti S, Hural J, De Rosa S, Carter DK, Rybczyk K, Frank I, Fuchs J, Koblin B, Kim DH, Joseph P, Keefer MC, Baden LR, Eldridge J, Boyer J, Sherwat A, Cardinali M, Allen M, Pensiero M, Butler C, Khan AS, Yan J, Sardesai NY, Kublin JG, Weiner DB: Safety and Comparative Immunogenicity of an HIV-1 DNA Vaccine in Combination with Plasmid Interleukin 12 and Impact of Intramuscular Electroporation for Delivery. NIAID HIV Vaccine Trials Network. J Infect Dis Sep 2013.

Obeng-Adjei N, Choo DK, Weiner DB: Hydrodynamic immunization leads to poor CD8 T-cell expansion, low frequency of memory CTLs and ineffective antiviral protection. Cancer Gene Ther. Aug 2013.

Ouma GO, Rodriguez E, Muthumani K, Weiner DB, Wilensky RL, Mohler ER : In vivo electroporation of constitutively expressed HIF-1α plasmid DNA improves neovascularization in a mouse model of limb ischemia. J Vasc Surg Jul 2013.

Shedlock DJ, Aviles J, Talbott KT, Wong G, Wu SJ, Villarreal DO, Myles DJ, Croyle MA, Yan J, Kobinger GP, Weiner DB: Induction of broad cytotoxic T cells by protective DNA vaccination against Marburg and Ebola. Mol Ther. Jul 2013.

Villarreal DO, Talbott KT, Choo DK, Shedlock DJ, Weiner DB : Synthetic DNA vaccine strategies against persistent viral infections. Expert Rev Vaccines May 2013.

DB Weiner: RNA-based vaccination: sending a strong message. Mol Ther 21(3): 506-8, Mar 2013.

Kulkarni V, Rosati M, Valentin A, Ganneru B, Singh AK, Yan J, Rolland M, Alicea C, Beach RK, Zhang GM, Le Gall S, Broderick KE, Sardesai NY, Heckerman D, Mothe B, Brander C, Weiner DB, Mullins JI, Pavlakis GN, Felber BK: HIV-1 p24(gag) derived conserved element DNA vaccine increases the breadth of immune response in mice. PLoS One Mar 2013.

Bao H, Ramanathan AA, Kawalakar O, Sundaram SG, Tingey C, Bian CB, Muruganandam N, Vijayachari P, Sardesai NY, Weiner DB, Ugen KE, Muthumani K: Nonstructural protein 2 (nsP2) of Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) enhances protective immunity mediated by a CHIKV envelope protein expressing DNA Vaccine. Viral Immunol. Feb 2013.

Shedlock DJ, Talbott KT, Wu SJ, Wilson CM, Muthumani K, Boyer JD, Sardesai NY, Awasthi S, Weiner DB: Vaccination with synthetic constructs expressing cytomegalovirus immunogens is highly T cell immunogenic in mice. Hum Vaccin Immunother Nov 2012.

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Last updated: 01/23/2017
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