David Dean Ph.D.


David A. Dean, PhD is a Professor of Pediatrics, Biomedical Engineering, and Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of Rochester. He earned an BA in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from the University of California at San Diego in 1985 and a PhD in Microbiology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1990 with thesis work on sugar transport in E. coli. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA in the Molecular Biology Institute studying SV40 nuclear import and viral assembly. His first faculty position was in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine in Mobile, Alabama, where he turned his attention to understanding how plasmids enter the nuclei of non-dividing (and dividing) cells. During this time, he characterized several DNA sequences that mediate nuclear import of plasmids and showed that they can increase the efficiency and specificity of gene delivery both in cells and in whole animal models of disease. In 2000, he moved to the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago and began to apply his group's findings to gene therapy in the lung. His diversified laboratory continued to study various aspects of DNA delivery and intracellular trafficking. Concentrating on applications of gene therapy for pulmonary and vascular disease, they developed electroporation strategies for gene delivery to the lung and vasculature. This approach uses mild electric fields that can destabilize cell membranes for long enough to allow for cell entry of foreign DNA but not long enough to injure the cell or tissue. While in Chicago, the lab's main emphasis turned to addressing diseases of the lung, including acute lung injury, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ALI/ARDS), and asthma. In 2007, he relocated to the Division of Neonatology at the University of Rochester in upstate New York. His group is developing new methods for gene delivery to the lungs and defining the molecular details of delivery approaches that will ultimately lead to treatments for a number of devastating diseases. His most recent work in large animal models of ALI/ARDS is extremely promising for eventual use in humans. He has published over 100 peer reviewed articles on DNA delivery, intracellular trafficking, and lung physiology and holds 4 issued US patents. He has chaired the Gordon Conference on Bioelectrochemistry and spoken at a number of national and international meetings and workshops. He has a long-standing record of extramural funding for his laboratory and also has served on multiple funding agency review bodies, including as a standing member of the Gene and Drug Delivery (GDD) and the Nanotechnology (NANO) study sections of the NIH.