Daniel J. Powell Jr., PhD

Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Contact InformationUniversity of Pennsylvania
3400 Civic Center Blvd.
Bldg. 421, TRC Rm 8-103
Philadelphia, PA 19104-5156
Office: 215-573-4783
Fax: 215-573-5129


Specialty Division

Transfusion Medicine & Therapeutic Pathology

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

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)

Itmat Expertise

Cancer immunotherapy with a focus on adoptive T cell transfer and cancer vaccination.


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

Specialty Certification

Penn Medicine Office of Organizational Effectiveness,
Supervisory Skills Certificate, 2010

Postgraduate Training

Research Fellow, Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute, NIH, 2002-2007

Awards and Honors

Sigma Zeta Honorary Science Society, 1995
Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society, 1995
Keystone Symposia Scholarship, 2000
Kimmel Cancer Institute Training Committee Representative, Thomas Jefferson University, 2001
Thomas Jefferson Alumni Fellowship, 2001
NCI Fellows Award for Research Excellence, 2003
NCI Exceptional Pay Increase Award, 2005
NCI Postdoctoral Research Fellow Representative to the AAAS, 2005
NCI CCR Fellows & Young Investigators Award, 2007
NCI Exceptional Pay Increase Award, 2007
Member, Strategic Planning Committee for Translational Research, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Pennsylvania, 2007
Full Member, American Association for Cancer Research, 2008
University Nominee and Recipient of the W.W.Smith Charitable Trust Award, 2009
The International Society for Biological Therapy of Cancer (iSBTc) Presidential Travel Award; ISBTc (Ph.D. candidate Evripidis Lanitis to present), 2010-2010
Election to International Society for Biological Therapy of Cancer (ISBTc), 2010
The Philadelphia Antique Show, selection of the Cellular Therapy Tissue Facility to receive $650K in construction-related funds., 2010
Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC); Travel Award; (Ph.D. candidate Evripidis Lanitis), 2011
Outstanding New Investigator Award, American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (ASGCT), 2014
The Teal Trailblazer Award, The Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation, 2015
Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy Fellow, 2017
Emerging Inventor of the Year Award; Penn Center for Innovation, 2018
Innovation Challenge Award, OvaCure., 2020
2021 Distinguished Career Alumni Award, Jefferson College of Life Sciences (JCLS) Alumni Association at Thomas Jefferson University., 2021-2021
2021 Distinguished Alumni Award, Jefferson College of Life Sciences (JCLS) Alumni Association, Thomas Jefferson University, 2021

Memberships and Professional Organizations

American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), 2008 - present
Translational Research Cancer Center Consortium (TRCCC), 2008 - Present
International Society for Cellular Therapy, 2009 - present
American Type Culture Collection (ATCC), 2009 - 2010
Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC), 2010 - present
American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, 2010 - Present
National Cancer Institute; Special Emphasis Panel/Scientific Review Group 2011/01 ZRG1 OTC-X (14) B - Small Business: Experimental Cancer Therapeutics, 2010 - 2010
National Cancer Institute (NCI/NIH), NCI funding opportunity (NOT-CA-10-025) “Administrative Supplements to Advance Special Translational Research Acceleration Projects on Immune Response Modifiers”, 2010 - 2010
National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Small Business: Experimental Cancer Therapeutics., 2010 - 2010
NLHBI-Sponsored Production Assistance for Cellular Therapies (PACT), 2011 - 2020
International Consortium for Cell Therapy and Immunotherapy (ICCTI), Brno, Czech Republic, 2011 - 2014
Genesis Biopharma, Inc., 2011 - 2013
National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cancer Diagnostics and Treatments (CDT) SBIR/STTR Review Panel Member, 2011 - Present
The Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research, 2012 - Present
NIH National Cancer Institute Program Project (P01)- reviewer status withdraw due to conflict (multiple PENN members on board)., 2012 - 2012
Alliance of Glycobiology Glycomics Laboratory for the Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer, 2012 - 2015
University of Pittsburgh, 2012 - 2012
Folate Receptor Society, 2012 - Present
Italian Association for Cancer Research (AIRC), 2013 - 2013
Center for Immunotherapy at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, 2013 - Present
Iovance Biotherapeutics, Inc. (formerly Lion Biotechnologies, Inc.), 2014 - 2017
The Dutch Cancer Society (KWF Kankerbestrijding), 2014 - 2014
NIH Cancer Immunopathology and Immunotherapy (CII) study section, 2014 - 2014
NRG Oncology, Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG), Immunotherapy Committee., 2015 - Present
Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance, 2015 - Present
BioNtech US (formerly Neon Therapeutics), 2015 - 2017
Terry Fox Research Institute, 2016 - 2020
Marsha Rivkin Ovarian Cancer Foundation, 2016 - 2016
Pan-Canadian immunotherapy NeTwork (iTNT), 2016 - 2019
NIH; NCI Program Project IV (P01) Review, 2017 - 2017
NIH National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) study section, 2017 - 2017
PO1 grant on Mesothelioma CAR Therapy (Albelda), 2018 - Present
Bellicum Pharmaceuticals Inc, 2019 - Present
InsTIL Therapeutics, 2019 - Present
Comparative Oncology Research Consortium (CORC), 2019 - Present
NIH Cancer Immunopathology and Immunotherapy (CII) Study Section, 2020 - 2022
Jefferson College of Life Sciences (JCLS) Alumni Awards Committee, Thomas Jefferson University., 2020 - Present
Department of Defense (DoD) Ovarian Cancer Academy (OCA), 2020 - Present
Center for International Blood & Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR), 2020 - Present
NIH Cellular Immunotherapy for Cancer (CIC) Study Section, 2022 - Present
Pathology Research Advisory Group, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, UPenn., 2023 - Present
Thomas Jefferson University JCLS Alumni Board, 2023 - 2023

Web Links

Selected Publications

Adoptive immunotherapy for cancer: building on success

Gattinoni, L., Powell, D. J., Jr., Rosenberg, S. A., Restifo, N. P., Nat Rev Immunol 6(5): 383-93, 2006

A Randomized Phase II Trial of Nivolumab vs. Nivolumab and Ipilimumab for Recurrent or Persistent Ovarian Cancer: An NRG Oncology Study

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, Journal of Clinical Oncology 1(38)(16): 1814-1823, 2020, PMID:32275468

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Quantitative Control of Gene Engineered T Cell Activity through the Covalent Attachment of Targeting Ligands to a Universal Immune Receptor.

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., Journal of the American Chemical Society 142(14): 6554, 2020, PMID:32191035

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Rethinking Ovarian Cancer II: A Roadmap for Reducing Mortality from High-grade Serous Ovarian Cancer

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, Nature Reviews Cancer 15(11): 668-79, 2015, PMID:26493647

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A universal strategy for adoptive immunotherapy of cancer through use of a novel T cell antigen receptor

Urbanska, K., Lanitis, E., Poussin, M., Lynn, R., Gavin, B.P., Kelderman, S., Yu, J., Scholler, N. and Powell, D.J., Jr., Cancer Research 72(7): 1844-52, 2012

Biochemical and functional characterization of mutant KRAS epitopes validates this oncoprotein for immunological targeting.

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., Nature Communications 16(12): 4365, 2021, PMID:34272369

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CD137 accurately identifies and enriches for naturally-occurring tumor-reactive T cells in tumor

Ye Q, Song D, Poussin M, Yamamoto T, Best A, Li C, Coukos C and Powell, DJ Jr., Clinical Cancer Research 20(1): 44-55, 2014

Dichotomous impact of affinity on the function of T cell engaging bispecific antibodies

Poussin M, Sereno A, Wu X, Huang F, Manro J, Cao S, Carpenito C, Glasebrook A, Powell DJ Jr, Demarest S., J Immunother Cancer 9(7): e002444, 2021, PMID:34253637

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CD27 costimulation augments the survival and anti-tumor activity of redirected human T cells in vivo

Song, D., Ye, Q., Poussin, M., Harms, G.M., Figini, M., and Powell, D.J., Jr., Blood 119(3): 696-706, 2012

CAR-T cell-mediated depletion of immunosuppressive tumor-associated macrophages promotes endogenous antitumor immunity and augments adoptive immunotherapy

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, Nature Communications 12(1): 877, 2021, PMID:33563975

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Personalized cancer vaccine effectively mobilizes antitumor T cell immunity in ovarian cancer

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, Science Translational Medicine 10(436): 5931, 2018, PMID:29643231

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CD25 Blockade Depletes and Selectively Reprograms Regulatory T Cells in Concert with Immunotherapy in Cancer Patients.

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., Science Translational Medicine 4(134): 134ra62, 2012

Cooperation between Constitutive and Inducible Chemokines Enables T-cell Engraftment and Immune Attack in Solid Tumors

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., Cancer Cell 35(10): 885-900, 2019, PMID:31185212

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Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cells with Dissociated Signaling Domains Exhibit Focused Antitumor Activity with Reduced Potential for Toxicity In Vivo

Lanitis E, Poussin M, Klattenhoff AW, Song D, Sandaltzopoulos R, June CH, and Powell DJ Jr., Cancer Immunology Research 1(1): 43-53, 2013, PMID:24409448

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In vivo persistence, tumor localization and anti-tumor activity of CIR engineered T cells is enhanced by costimulatory signaling through CD137 (4-1BB).

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., Cancer Research 71(13): 4617-27. , 2011, PMID:21546571

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High affinity FRβ-specific CAR T cells eradicate AML and normal myeloid lineage without HSC toxicity

Lynn RC, Feng Y, Schutsky K, Poussin M, Kalota A, Dimitrov DS, and Powell DJ Jr, Leukemia 30(6): 1355-64, 2016, PMID:26898190

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Targeting of folate receptor-beta on acute myeloid leukemia blasts with chimeric antigen receptor expressing T-cells

Lynn RC, Poussin M, Kalota A, Feng Y, Low PS, Dimitrov DS, Powell DJ Jr., Blood 125(22): 3466-76, 2015, PMID:25887778

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Expression of a Functional CCR2 Receptor Enhances Tumor Localization and Eradication by Human T Cells Expressing a Mesothelin-Specific Chimeric Antibody Receptor.

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., Clinical Cancer Research 17(14): 4719-30, 2011

Optimizing Parameters for Clinical-scale Production of High IL-12 Secreting Dendritic Cells Pulsed with Oxidized Whole Tumor Cell Lysate

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., Journal of Translational Medicine 9(1): 198, 2011, PMID:22082029

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