Daniel Portnoy

University of California, Berkeley

Portnoy received a B.A. in bacteriology from UCLA in 1978 and a Ph.D. in 1983 under the tutelage of Stanley Falkow at the University of Washington and Stanford. He conducted postdoctoral research at the Rockefeller University working with Jay Unkeless and Jeff Ravetch.  Next, at Washington University and then Penn, he began working on Listeria monocytogenes as a model intracellular pathogen. Portnoy collaborated with Yvonne Paterson at Penn on the use of L. monocytogenes as a recombinant vector-based vaccine for the induction of cell-mediated immunity. Both Paterson and Portnoy went on to work with biotech companies to develop vaccines for cancer and infectious diseases. Numerous clinical trials based on their discoveries have shown promising results as immunotherapeutic treatments for cancer. In 1997, Portnoy moved to UC Berkeley where he currently holds joint appointments in Molecular and Cell Biology and Plant and Microbial Biology, and holds the Edward E. Penhoet Distinguished Chair in Global Public Health and Infectious Diseases. Portnoy and collaborators found that immune cells recognize bacterial c-di-AMP and Portnoy and Russell Vance identified that STING was the host receptor leading to the production of type I.  Modified versions of c-di-AMP are now being evaluated in the private sector for clinical application as adjuvants and for cancer immunotherapy.  Portnoy’s contributions were recognized by his election to the National Academy of Sciences in 2013 and the National Academy of Inventors in 2017.  

Daniel A. Portnoy will be a Featured Speaker at ASM Microbe 2019.