U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Daniel Appella

 Contact Info

Tel: 301-451-1052
Email: appellad@niddk.nih.gov

 Select Experience

  • Assistant ProfessorNorthwestern University2001-2004
  • Postdoctoral FellowMassachusetts Institute of Technology1998 – 2001
  • Ph.D.University of Wisconsin-Madison1998

 Related Links

  • Chemistry/Chemical Biology
Research Summary/In Plain Language

Research in Plain Language

Our lab designs and makes new molecules that may help diagnose or treat human diseases. We use organic chemistry to create new types of molecules with interesting biological activity. With other scientists, we study how these molecules function in living organisms.

We focus on a few specific classes of molecules. We mainly design and make a type of molecule called a peptide nucleic acid (PNA). This is an artificial nucleic acid. PNA shares some characteristics with the naturally occurring nucleic acids DNA and RNA. However, the PNA chemical backbone is different.

We have modified PNA chemistry to increase their usefulness in medicine. For example, we created one PNA that might improve disease diagnosis. We use another chemically modified PNA to study how cells communicate over large surface areas. In addition to PNA, we also design and make molecules that may become future medicines. We develop unique classes of molecules that represent new approaches to the treatment of HIV and cancer.