Daniel J. Powell jr.

Daniel J. Powell Jr.

faculty photo
Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
On site Director, PENN Tumor BioTrust
Director of Education, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy
Scientific Director of Immunotherapy, Division of Gynecologic Oncology
Department: Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
University of Pennsylvania
3400 Civic Center Blvd.
Bldg. 421, TRC Rm 8-103
Philadelphia, PA 19104-5156
Office: 215-573-4783
Fax: 215-573-5129
A.A. (Liberal Arts)
Delaware County Community College, 1991.
A.S. (Natural Science)
Delaware County Community College, 1993.
B.S. (Biology / Pre-Medicine)
Cabrini College, 1995.
Ph.D. (Immunology)
Thomas Jefferson University, 2002.
Post-Graduate Training
Research Fellow, Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute, NIH , 2002-2007.
Permanent link
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Description of Research Expertise

The Powell Lab is actively investigating and translating the application of immune-based therapy for cancer, with emphasis on gynecologic cancers. Building on interrogations in basic T cell biology in the lab, bench-to-bedside translational immunology is being developed, with a focus on T cell-based therapy for ovarian cancer.

One focus of the Powell lab is on the generation/isolation high avidity, tumor-reactive T cells from heterogenous tumor infiltrating lymphocyte populations in traditionally "non-immunogenic" cancers utilizing novel T cell capture techniques, and to deeply examine the characteristics and function of these immune cells. This serves as a guidepost for rationally designing new combination checkpoint therapies, downstream T cell receptor (TCR) isolation, cancer antigen identification and molecular characterization of naturally occurring tumor-reactive T cells in human cancer.

New model systems are being developed to test and optimize various immunotherapy strategies, including bispecific antibodies, checkpoint inhibitors, epigenetic modifiers and adoptive T cell transfer both in vitro and in vivo.

Another field of study is the de novo generation of tumor-reactive T cells through genetic engineering methods. One approach relies on the isolation and cloning of T cell receptors (TCRs) that confer non-reactive T cells with specific and potent immune function following gene transfer. Another approach relies upon the use of chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) that directly target cancer cells or immunosuppressive cellular elements in the tumor microenvironment. Multiple CARs are currently in the clinic or in clinical development. The Powell Lab also pioneered and continues to test new universal CAR T cell products as an approach to treating hard to treat cancers.

Other current efforts include the exploration of immunomodulation to potentiate endogenous antitumor T cell responses, use of bispecific antibodies, pharmacological sensitization of tumor cells to immune attack, tumor vasculature targeting, preclinical validations, clinical translation and trial support.

Current Powell Lab Personnel:

- Dr. Sarah Gitto, Post-doctoral Investigator
- Dr. Veethika Pandey, Post-doctoral Investigator
- Dr. Kiran Madugula, Post-doctoral Investigator
- Dr. Joshua Eggold, Post-doctoral Investigator
- Lauren Shaw, Ph.D. candidate (Pharm)
- Alexander Benton, Ph.D. candidate (GTV)
- Erica Brown, Ph.D. candidate (GTV)
- Andrea Lang Goldgewicht, Penn undergrad
- Dr. Mathilde Poussin, Lab Manager

Previous Lab Members:

- Dr. Alba Rodriguez Garcia, Post-doctoral Investigator (IDIBAPS)
- Dr. Anze Smole, Post-doctoral Investigator (NIB)
- Dr. Wei Xie, Visiting Physician Scholar
- Dr. Jie Wang, Hem Onc Fellow, MTR, (Duke)
- Dr. Nicholas Minutolo, PGG Ph.D. candidate (Carisma)
- Dr. Monika Eiva, Cancer Bio Ph.D. candidate (J&J)
- Dr. Degang Song, M.D., Ph.D. (Janssen)
- Dr. Katarzyna Urbanska (BMS)
- Dr. Jessica Chacon, Ph.D. (Merck)
- Dr. Rachel Lynn, Ph.D.(Stanford/Lyell)
- Dr. Jenessa Smith, Ph.D. (Poseida/Arsenal)
- Dr. Keith Schutsky, Ph.D. (BMS)
- Dr. Evripidis Lanitis, Ph.D. (Lausanne, CHUV)
- Dr. Phillip Santoiemma (Northwestern)
- Dr. Caitlin Stashwick (Lancaster County)
- Dr. Xiaojun Xu, M.D.
- Dr. Qunrui Ye, Ph.D.
- Dr. Gen Shen Zhong,M.D.
- Dr. Allison Roy, Ob Gyn Fellow
- Ms. Shree Joshi, (BMS)
- Ms. Prannda Sharma, Project Manager

Description of Clinical Expertise

Translation of T cell based therapies to the clinic, including CAR T cells for ovarian cancer (NCT03585764) and translational lead for immune based therapy trials (NCT02498600)

Selected Publications

Gattinoni, L., Powell, D. J., Jr., Rosenberg, S. A., Restifo, N. P.: Adoptive immunotherapy for cancer: building on success. Nat Rev Immunol 6(5): 383-93, May 2006.

David Bowtell, Steffen Böhm, Ahmed Ahmed, Paul-Joseph Aspuria, Robert C Bast, Jr, Valerie Beral, Jonathan S Berek, Mike Birrer, Sarah Blagden, Michael A Bookman, James Brenton, Katherine B Chiappinelli, Filipe Correia Martins, George Coukos, Ronny Drapkin, Richard Edmondson, Christina Fotopoulou, Hani Gabra, Jérôme Galon, Charlie Gourley, Valerie Heong, David Huntsman, Marcin Iwanicki, Beth Karlan, Allyson Kaye, Ernst Lengyel, Douglas A Levine, Karen Lu, Iain McNeish, Usha Menon, Steve Narod, Brad H Nelson, Kenneth Nephew, Paul Pharoah, Daniel Powell, Pilar Ramos, Iris Romero, Clare Scott, Anil K Sood, Euan A Stronach, Frances Balkwill: Rethinking Ovarian Cancer II: A Roadmap for Reducing Mortality from High-grade Serous Ovarian Cancer. Nature Reviews Cancer 15(11): 668-79, Oct 2015.

Minutolo NG, Sharma P, Poussin M, Shaw LC, Brown DP, Hollander EE, Smole A, Rodriguez-Garcia A, Hui JZ, Zappala F, Tsourkas A, Powell DJ Jr.: Quantitative Control of Gene Engineered T Cell Activity through the Covalent Attachment of Targeting Ligands to a Universal Immune Receptor. Journal of the American Chemical Society 142(14): 6554, April 2020.

Zamarin D, Burger BA, Sill MW, Powell DJ Jr, Lankes HA, Feldman MD, Zivanovic O, Gunderson C, Ko E, Mathews C, Sharma S, Hagemann AR, Khleif S, Aghajanian C: A Randomized Phase II Trial of Nivolumab vs. Nivolumab and Ipilimumab for Recurrent or Persistent Ovarian Cancer: An NRG Oncology Study. Journal of Clinical Oncology 1(38)(16): 1814-1823, April 2020 Notes: JCO1902059. doi: 10.1200/JCO.19.02059.

Song, D., Ye, Q., Poussin, M., Harms, G.M., Figini, M., and Powell, D.J., Jr.: CD27 costimulation augments the survival and anti-tumor activity of redirected human T cells in vivo. Blood 119(3): 696-706, Jan 2012.

Poussin M, Sereno A, Wu X, Huang F, Manro J, Cao S, Carpenito C, Glasebrook A, Powell DJ Jr, Demarest S.: Dichotomous impact of affinity on the function of T cell engaging bispecific antibodies. J Immunother Cancer 9(7): e002444, July 2021.

Bear AS, Blanchard T, Cesare J, Ford MJ, Richman LP, Xu C, Baroja ML, McCuaig S, Costeas C, Gabunia K, Scholler J, Posey AD Jr, O'Hara MH, Smole A, Powell DJ Jr, Garcia BA, Vonderheide RH, Linette GP, Carreno BM.: Biochemical and functional characterization of mutant KRAS epitopes validates this oncoprotein for immunological targeting. Nature Communications 16(12): 4365, July 2021.

Rodriguez-Garcia A, Lynn1 RC, Poussin M, Eiva1 MA, Shaw LC, O’Connor RS, Minutolo NG, Casado-Medrano V, Lopez G, Matsuyama T, Powell DJ Jr: CAR-T cell-mediated depletion of immunosuppressive tumor-associated macrophages promotes endogenous antitumor immunity and augments adoptive immunotherapy. Nature Communications 12(1): 877, Feb 2021.

Ye Q, Song D, Poussin M, Yamamoto T, Best A, Li C, Coukos C and Powell, DJ Jr.: CD137 accurately identifies and enriches for naturally-occurring tumor-reactive T cells in tumor. Clinical Cancer Research 20(1): 44-55, Jan 2014 Notes: Epub September 17, 2013. doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-0945

Urbanska, K., Lanitis, E., Poussin, M., Lynn, R., Gavin, B.P., Kelderman, S., Yu, J., Scholler, N. and Powell, D.J., Jr.: A universal strategy for adoptive immunotherapy of cancer through use of a novel T cell antigen receptor. Cancer Research 72(7): 1844-52, Apr 2012.

Rech, A.J., Mick, R., Martin, S., Recio, A., Aqui, N.A., Powell, D.J., Jr., Colligon, T.A., Trosko, J.A., Leinbach, L.I., Pletcher, C.H., Tweed, C.K., Demichele, A., Fox, K.R., Domchek, S.M., Riley, J.L., Vonderheide, R.H. : CD25 Blockade Depletes and Selectively Reprograms Regulatory T Cells in Concert with Immunotherapy in Cancer Patients. Science Translational Medicine 4(134): 134ra62, May 2012 Notes: doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3003330.

Dangaj D, Bruand M, Grimm AJ, Ronet C, Barras D, Duttagupta PA, Lanitis E, Duraiswamy J, Tanyi JL, Benencia F, Conejo-Garcia J, Ramay HR, Montone KT, Powell DJ Jr, Gimotty PA, Facciabene A, Jackson DG, Weber JS, Coukos G.: Cooperation between Constitutive and Inducible Chemokines Enables T-cell Engraftment and Immune Attack in Solid Tumors. Cancer Cell 35(10): 885-900, June 2019.

Janos L. Tanyi, Sara Bobisse, Eran Ophir, Sandra Tuyaerts, Annalisa Roberti, Raphael Genolet, Petra Baumgartner, Brian J. Stevenson, Christian Iseli, Denarda Dangaj, Brian Czerniecki, Aikaterini Semilietof, Julien Racle, Alexandra Michel, Ioannis Xenarios, Cheryl Chiang, Dimitri S. Monos, Drew A. Torigian, Harvey L. Nisenbaum, Olivier Michielin, Carl H. June, Bruce L. Levine, Daniel J. Powell Jr., David Gfeller, Rosemarie Mick, Urania Dafni, Vincent Zoete, Alexandre Harari, George Coukos and Lana E. Kandalaft: Personalized cancer vaccine effectively mobilizes antitumor T cell immunity in ovarian cancer. Science Translational Medicine 10(436): 5931, April 2018.

Song, D., Ye, Q., Carpenito, C., Poussin, M., Wang, L-P., Ji, C., Figini, M., June, C.H., Coukos, G. and Powell, D.J., Jr.: In vivo persistence, tumor localization and anti-tumor activity of CIR engineered T cells is enhanced by costimulatory signaling through CD137 (4-1BB). Cancer Research 71(13): 4617-27. Jul 2011.

Lynn RC, Feng Y, Schutsky K, Poussin M, Kalota A, Dimitrov DS, and Powell DJ Jr: High affinity FRβ-specific CAR T cells eradicate AML and normal myeloid lineage without HSC toxicity Leukemia 30(6): 1355-64, June 2016 Notes: Epub ahead of print. doi: 10.1038/leu.2016.35.

Lynn RC, Poussin M, Kalota A, Feng Y, Low PS, Dimitrov DS, Powell DJ Jr.: Targeting of folate receptor-beta on acute myeloid leukemia blasts with chimeric antigen receptor expressing T-cells Blood 125(22): 3466-76, May 2015.

Lanitis E, Poussin M, Klattenhoff AW, Song D, Sandaltzopoulos R, June CH, and Powell DJ Jr.: Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cells with Dissociated Signaling Domains Exhibit Focused Antitumor Activity with Reduced Potential for Toxicity In Vivo Cancer Immunology Research 1(1): 43-53, July 2013 Notes: Published OnlineFirst April 7, 2013; doi: 10.1158/2326-6066.

Moon, E.K., Carpenito, C., Sun, J., Wang, L.C., Kapoor, V., Predina, J.D., Powell, D.J., Jr., Riley, J.L., June, C.H. and Albelda, S.M. : Expression of a Functional CCR2 Receptor Enhances Tumor Localization and Eradication by Human T Cells Expressing a Mesothelin-Specific Chimeric Antibody Receptor. Clinical Cancer Research 17(14): 4719-30, Jul 2011.

Chiang, C.L. Maier, D.A., Kandalaft, L.E., Brennan, A.L., Lanitis, E., Ye, Q. Levine, B.L., Czerniecki, B.J., Powell, D.J., Jr. and Coukos G.: Optimizing Parameters for Clinical-scale Production of High IL-12 Secreting Dendritic Cells Pulsed with Oxidized Whole Tumor Cell Lysate Journal of Translational Medicine 9(1): 198, Nov 2011.

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Last updated: 05/16/2024
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